Published: October 11, 2021

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Birmingham

Written by Amber Furr
Birmingham City Centre

Demand is at an all-time high in Birmingham, the major UK city with an economy growing as rapidly as its population. In fact, a recent report by Knight Frank revealed that Birmingham has attracted the most investment in new residential properties in 2021, outside of London. Ideally located in the heart of the UK, Birmingham is the central hub connecting London and the Northern Powerhouse – a journey to be cut in half thanks to GBP 106 billion high-speed railway, High-Speed 2 (HS2).

Despite the expanding population of the UK’s second city, there is a comparatively low supply of purpose-built residential property. This supply and demand imbalance explains why Birmingham is a prime location for investors, but what is attracting tenants to the city?

We’ve compiled 10 facts about Birmingham, uncovering what makes it such a popular, dynamic city with a rich history and an increasing global presence.

1. Youngest population in Europe

With almost 40% of the population made up of under 25-year-olds, Birmingham has the youngest population in Europe. This is largely down to the city’s high graduate retention rate (25,000 graduates a year) across its five universities – one of which is a Russell Group institution, the University of Birmingham.

Making the city a prime property investment location, this demographic of young professionals accounts for a large percentage of Build-to-Rent tenants, with a third of millennials now expected to rent their entire lives.

2. Home to key brands and companies

Birmingham is the birthplace of iconic brands such as Cadbury’s, Lloyd’s Bank and HP Sauce. In more recent years, the city has gained recognition for its financial and business hubs, with major companies such as Goldman Sachs and HSBC Bank setting up headquarters there instead of London – a growing trend among blue-chip employers.

This growing talent pool is attracting tenants who are willing to pay a premium for their desired living experience – a prime opportunity for Build-to-Rent developers and investors.

3. Hosting the Commonwealth Games 2022

The international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth is being held in Birmingham next year. Alexander Stadium is scheduled to host the ceremonies and athletics, with a GBP 72 million renovation and temporary seating increasing capacity from 12,700 to 30,000. Increasing Birmingham’s international profile, over 5,000 athletes and 72 teams participate from all over the world.

4. The most Michelin Starred restaurants in the UK (outside London)

The ultimate hallmark of culinary excellence, 10 restaurants in Birmingham are classified as Michelin Star, making it the UK city with the most outside of London.

5. Home to Europe’s largest urban park outside of a capital city

With over 8,000 acres of parks and green space, Birmingham is one of the UK’s greenest cities. This is also attractive to many residents who see access to green space as a priority – a trend accelerated by COVID-19.

6. The Jewellery Quarter produces 40% of all jewellery in the UK

A prime shopping spot attracting tourists from all over the world, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter has the highest concentration of jewellery production in Europe.

7. The Hippodrome is the UK’s busiest theatre

Best known for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Hippodrome Theatre has over 520,000 visitors each year, making it the busiest theatre in the UK despite common misconceptions that London would take the top spot.

8. You can reach 90% of the UK in under 4 hours from Birmingham

Birmingham is the most connected regional city in the UK. Home to the busiest interchange railway station outside of London, Birmingham New Street connects the country, supporting the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda. This connectivity will improve further with HS2, which will reduce the direct-train link to London from 1 hour 24 minutes to just 49 minutes by 2029.

HS2 is expected to increase Birmingham’s population further, as Londoners will be able to commute from Birmingham for work and enjoy a better quality of life for less money outside of the capital.

9. Largest public library in Europe

The Library of Birmingham is the biggest in Europe, housing a world-class collection of 800,000 books, as well as archives and photography.

10. Birmingham has more canals than Venice

With over 100 miles of canal navigations, a fact that surprises people is that Birmingham has more canals than Venice, Italy. During the industrial revolution, the canals were busy waterways transporting coal, iron and other goods, playing a huge role in the development of the city.

Birmingham is a city with a population as rich as its history. But with a comparatively low supply of high-quality residential property, this market gap is a prime investment opportunity.

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