Business is booming.

Birmingham's property market boosted by the Commonwealth Games

The huge, daring mechanical bull that roared into Birmingham’s arena during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games could be an apt metaphor for the city’s real estate scene.

“There are so many positives that are driving the Games here,” said Andrew Oulsnam, director of Robert Oulsnam and Company, and the owner of 11 real estate offices in the city.

‘We are seeing much more investment, with prices having risen sharply over the past year and a half. The Games have given us a “feel-good factor” that I will certainly spread beyond the event itself.’

On to a winner: Birmingham's Victoria Square before the Games.  Housing in the city is 60% lower than in London

On to a winner: Birmingham’s Victoria Square before the Games. Housing in the city is 60% lower than in London

Warming to his theme, he says, ‘Even now, in August, there is a change; more interest from buyers – while traditionally the summer months are not the best time for the property market. I am optimistic about the future.’

The shift in Birmingham’s fortunes began with proposals for the HS2 project, which, when completed in 2033, will cut journey times to London to less than an hour. This encouraged large companies such as HSBC, which has moved its UK headquarters to the city.

Since then, PwC and Goldman Sachs have followed suit.

International brokers are selling property abroad, while several infrastructure projects have transformed Birmingham into a safe, energetic and culturally diverse city – and a young city, with nearly 40 percent of the population under 25 years of age.

This has contributed to the vibrancy and reason why many emerging industries such as technological innovation and life sciences have started. It’s also a shopping town, with 1,000 shops less than a 20-minute walk from the center.

And then there are the prices. Homes in Birmingham cost 60 percent less than those in London.

In general, living in Birmingham is now seen in a positive light

Realtor Philip Jackson

“The pandemic has made many people working from home realize the importance of having some outdoor space,” said Lynda Williams, branch manager at Kings Heath real estate.

‘I have clients who have moved from London, sell their small flats for the typical £500,000 and get a beautiful Victorian house and garden with original features, for the same money here.’

Philip Jackson, director of Maguire Jackson, deals with properties in the city center and has seen the positive impact of the Games.

“There is no doubt that the extra focus on Birmingham will benefit the property market.

“The Commonwealth Games, with 72 teams from around the world, is a great step on the HS2 journey,” he says.

“Rentals have risen by five to ten percent in the last twelve months, and now living in Birmingham is being seen in a positive light.”

He says the famous Jewelery Quarter looks like Clerkenwell in central London 20 years ago, with controlled conservation of historic buildings, giving homes an interesting atmosphere.

Intriguingly, this is where all the Commonwealth Games medals were made. Philip says the typical tenant is an indentured worker aged 25 to 35.

At the same time, the sales market is also growing steadily in the Jewelery Quarter, where modern warehouse conversions of one-bedroom apartments cost £185-£200,000 and two-bedroom apartments from £220,000 to £500,000.

Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council leader, is naturally proud of the enthusiasm and success the Games have brought.

One of the legacies is the construction of 1,000 new homes in the north of the city at Perry Barr, next to the main stadium.

“It cost us £184 million to host the Games and the government has matched it three times. Now, thanks to that amount, we’ve put £1 billion in investment into the city,” said Mr Ward. “We couldn’t afford not to have them.”

On the market… in our second city

Wharfside Street: This two bedroom penthouse is located in the city center.  There is access to a residents' gym and the building has its own parking space.  n Fineandcountry.com, 0121 272 600 £400,000

Wharfside Street: This two bedroom penthouse is located in the city center.  There is access to a residents' gym and the building has its own parking space.  n Fineandcountry.com, 0121 272 600 £400,000

Wharfside Street: This two bedroom penthouse is located in the city center. There is access to a residents’ gym and the building has its own parking space. n Fineandcountry.com, 0121 272 600 £400,000

H0dge Hill: On the outskirts of Birmingham, this three bedroom semi-detached house also includes a conservatory and garage.  n Shipways.co.uk, 01217 210 563. £230,000

H0dge Hill: On the outskirts of Birmingham, this three bedroom semi-detached house also includes a conservatory and garage.  n Shipways.co.uk, 01217 210 563. £230,000

H0dge Hill: On the outskirts of Birmingham, this three bedroom semi-detached house also includes a conservatory and garage. n Shipways.co.uk, 01217 210 563. £230,000

Wychall Road: After a complete refurbishment, this three bedroom detached house has a newly fitted kitchen/dining room, bathroom and off road parking.  n Ardenestates.co.uk, 01217 217 734. £299,950

Wychall Road: After a complete refurbishment, this three bedroom detached house has a newly fitted kitchen/dining room, bathroom and off road parking.  n Ardenestates.co.uk, 01217 217 734. £299,950

Wychall Road: After a complete refurbishment, this three bedroom detached house has a newly fitted kitchen/dining room, bathroom and off road parking. n Ardenestates.co.uk, 01217 217 734. £299,950

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