Birmingham is often cited as the fastest-improving city for quality of life in the UK. From its impressive transport links and ambitious regeneration projects to excellent career opportunities as the home to global banks, major corporations and leading insurance and accounting firms, there are plenty of reasons to relocate here. The only question that remains, however, is whether you should rent or buy. In this article, we take a look at the three main arguments in favour of each.
Reason to Buy… In our interview with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, he called HS2 a “game changer” for the region. Birmingham is integral to plans for the HS2 high-speed rail network which will place the city within easy commuting distance of London and Manchester. Plans to reopen Curzon Street station as a seven platform HS2 terminal in 2026 will boost house prices in surrounding areas such as Digbeth, Eastside and Jewellery Quarter. Now could be the perfect time to pick up a bargain.
Reason to Rent… Birmingham has a strong yet affordable rental market, particularly in the suburbs which is buoyed by impressive transport links that are already in place. It has the second largest bus network in the UK – after London – with 24 hour service to areas such as Moseley and Kings Heath. It also offers excellent rail (and tram) links to the Greater Birmingham metropolitan area via three major train stations – New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill.
Infrastructure & Regeneration
Reason to Buy… As part of the Big City Plan, billions of pounds have been – and continue to be – spent on transforming many parts of Birmingham whilst helping to create new homes, new jobs and a better standard of living for residents in impacted areas. Neighbourhoods that were once unappealing are now providing great investment opportunities while a surge in new property developments also gives buyers the chance to get their hands on the most hotly anticipated new addresses on the market.
Reason to Rent… A side-effect of the regeneration project is the unique opportunity to live in a brand new apartment without the need to shell out a fortune for the privilege. With new developments being built across the city, there are no shortages of rental opportunities where the paint is still fresh and the beds have yet to be slept on.
Reason to Buy… Not only is it significantly cheaper to get on the property ladder in Birmingham than in London or Manchester, but the potential return on your investment is stronger in the second city too. According to Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index, house prices in Birmingham have grown 16% since 2016, which is more than any other city in the UK. In addition, new data from HM Land Registry shows that at the start of 2019, the average house price in Birmingham was up 5.8% to £188,254 compared to the same period in 2018.
Reason to Rent… It is estimated that any first-time buyer would need to earn £35,200 per year to afford to get onto the property ladder in Birmingham which is highly unlikely for a recent graduate or young professional. However, with wage levels rising faster than anywhere else in the UK, Birmingham could be the perfect place to build your career and there are plenty of cheap rental properties and house shares available across the city which will allow you to start saving for your deposit should you wish to buy in the future.
Birmingham has a comparable standard of living to London but at a fraction of the cost. Whatever way you look at it, the city offers an excellent housing market regardless of whether you are looking to rent or buy.