Headland Developments Wins Prestigious Best Low-Rise Residential Development Award

Headland Developments Limited announced today that it has won the iProperty Best Development Award 2015 for Best Low-Rise Residential Development, for its first residential development in the United Kingdom, The Franklin. With overwhelming support from consumers, agencies and leading industry professionals, The Franklin received the highest percentage of public votes and achieved the highest score in architectural design, spacial layout, special features and amenities. Last year Headland Developments won the same award for The Fountainside in Macau.

“We are extremely gratified to have been awarded the Best Low-Rise Residential Development accolade for The Franklin,” said John Gunning, Managing Director at Headland. “This marks our second year in a row winning this award from the iProperty group, and it validates our unique UK investment and development business model.”

“Winning this award reinforces our investors’ belief in our ability to select and develop projects that not only produce great returns but are also significant from a design and architectural standpoint,” said Paul Hill, Director at Headland.

Located in the village of Bourneville, Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, ‘The Franklin’ is a landmark property development highlighting the best and most innovative development that Birmingham has to offer. Previously home to the headquarters of famous British  confectioner Cadbury, ‘The Franklin’ represents a new concept of living that brings together the best of both worlds: contemporary living in a beautiful garden village environment, just minutes from Birmingham city centre. See more about The Franklin here.

The award ceremony for the iProperty Best Development Awards 2015 will be held on April 29, 2016, 2:30PM – 4:30PM at W Hotel – Studio 3 & 5, 7/F (1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station, Hong Kong).

Why Birmingham?

The largest city in the West Midlands and the second largest in the UK, birthplace of the steam engine, Cadbury’s chocolate, and home of the poet W.H Auden and Lord of the Rings writer J.R.R. Tolkien, Birmingham today is a dynamic urban center that is attracting talented people from all over the UK and the world.  Here are nine reasons why Birmingham is the UK’s city of choice.

No. 1 Investable City in the UK as ranked by PwC

Birmingham is ranked as the No.1 investable city in the UK, ahead of London and Manchester, based on its quality of life, city amenities, transportation links, educational infrastructure, and available real estate. As of June 2015, Greater Birmingham attracted more foreign direct investment than any other local enterprise partnership zone in the UK.

Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016
PwC & Urban Land Institute


High Speed 2 (HS2) is the planned high-speed railway in the United Kingdom initially linking London to  Birmingham in phase 1 and then later Birmingham to Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester in phase 2.  Birmingham residents already have the freedom to travel to 50% of the UK’s population within a 2-hour travel time, and up to 90% within 4 hours. However, with the completion of HS2, Birmingham will effectively become the center of the UK high-speed transportation. Indeed, HS2 will give Birmingham access to 45 million people within one hours travel time. With speeds of up to 400km/h, train transportation on the HS2 will be fast, efficient, and further enhance Birmingham as the new city of choice for those looking for opportunities.

Map of proposed high speed rail network after phases are complete

Big City Plan

Birmingham’s Big City Plan, launched in 2010, provides a 20-year vision of transformational change for Birmingham’s City Centre. Sustainability, connectivity, authenticity, green spaces, livability, and diversification are the focus points of this ambitious plan, which will benefit not only the city but also Birmingham’s regional population of 4.3 million people of working age.

Birmingham Selfridges Building

Second Largest Student City in the UK

Birmingham boasts 20 leading universities within a one-hour drive of the city, and 120,000 graduates each year. The large number of students provides Birmingham with a vast sustainable labour pool, and makes it Europe’s youngest major city and one of its most diversified.  Students in Birmingham schools come from over 80 different ethnic backgrounds and speak more than 100 different languages

Cost of Living and Property Costs

Living and property expenses in Birmingham are less than half of the capital’s. London apartments in the city centre cost ~£15,869.99 per square metre. In Birmingham’s city centre, however, the same apartment would cost £1,900 per square metre – over 80% less. Renting is also much cheaper in Birmingham: one bedroom apartments rent for nearly 60% less in Birmingham than in London, and 70% less for a three bedroom flat. Indeed, more people have relocated from London to Birmingham than any other city.

Highest Quality of Life

In 2014 Birmingham was ranked best regional UK city in terms of quality of life for the third year running by the global Mercer Living Index. Birmingham also has a much more livable population density than London. In fact, people in Birmingham live in conditions that are 39.25% less cramped than those in London.

Library of Birmingham

Net Export Surplus with China

While the UK ran an export deficit of more than £20 billion with China in 2014, the west Midlands region remained the only one with a surplus – exporting £5.3 billion worth of goods, and importing just £2.5 billion.

Startup Hub

Birmingham has developed into the UK’s premier startup hub, with more companies established in 2015 than any other regional city. Indeed, Birmingham had 14,152 companies register during 2015, maintaining its position as the most entrepreneurial regional city.

Tourist Destination

Birmingham was named one of the top 15 travel destinations in the world for 2016 by Culture Trip. The city hosted a record 34 million visitors in 2014, up 32% from the previous year. Fun fact: Birmingham has more canals than Venice.

Regarding tourism infrastructure, Birmingham Airport is the UK’s third largest outside London and the UK’s seventh largest overall. Birmingham Airport gives passengers a choice of 422 direct or one-stop flights, and is a mere nine-minute train journey from the city centre.

Birmingham is going through an unprecedented period of transformation and we see tremendous opportunities for the UK’s second largest city. Contact us to find out more information: www.headlanddevelopment.com


Watch “Business Birmingham – Best to Invest”


Watch “Birmingham 2015: An incredible year!”


“The Impact of HS2 on Development” An interesting article re the impact of HS2 on Birmingham by Savills World Research

The initial impact of HS2 will be on Birmingham. The city is already changing fast and undergoing tremendous regeneration and development. Large employers are expanding and, in turn, not only generating more jobs but also a bigger number of higher skilled positions. These changes have not gone unnoticed by investors, many of which are looking beyond London for new opportunities.

The Franklin appears in BBC’s “Midlands Today”

Headland features in Fortune China regarding UK and Birmingham Property

Overseas property investments are again increasing in popularity as China’s stock market swings drive retail investors in Greater China to look for more stable investment alternatives. The Shanghai Composite Index recently fell approximately 30% over three weeks as central government officials tried to halt the slide in values.
The United Kingdom, in particular London, has historically seen a lot of investment from China. In 2014 alone Chinese buyers splashed out US$3.32 billion on real estate in the UK capital, according to UK-based property consultant Savills. Today, high net worth Chinese investors are diversifying away from overpriced London properties into second-tier cities in search of better values.
They are supported by the UK government’s effort to boost economic growth in stand-out second-tier cities such as Birmingham. As a result, the smart money from Asia is looking to invest in the early stages of select property development cycles there. But they can only do so armed with local market knowledge and the ability to seize the right opportunity, which remain key to investment success.
Asian developers who have that in-depth knowledge are being engaged by Asian investors to manage their UK property investments. Such developers bring an understanding of the Asian culture and customs as well as local market knowledge to the task of finding the right opportunities for their Asian investors.
That is the kind of partner Chinese investors need to be certain of getting their investments right in overseas markets such as the UK. China’s qualified domestic individual investor (QDII2) scheme will make this more important than ever, as a select group of individuals could have the option of investing up to half of the total value of their assets in international financial asset classes such as real estate.
What do Chinese investors require when investing into a market such as the UK? There are tax and legal implications of which they need to be aware and have structured appropriately. They need to ensure that the right opportunity is sourced that reflects their individual risk profiles and return requirements; and that they have the right partner to source these opportunities, manage them appropriately from inception to completion as well as providing regular updates and information at each stage of the project.
The latest example of the diversification away from London is The Franklin, a modern complex of 79 apartments located in Birmingham. Knight Frank has launched sales of The Franklin in Hong Kong, which is being developed by British local developer Court Collaboration in partnership with Hong Kong-based developer Headland Developments on behalf of its Asian investors.
As more investors from Greater China turn to the UK for stable investment alternatives, they will need trustworthy developers with whom they can work to lower their risk. Asian developers with a proven track record in construction, development and funds management, who in addition have a strong network of local development partners, will become Chinese investors’ go-to sources for overseas investment, which we broadly term cross border investment with local execution.

BPN brief for conversion of Cadbury’s Franklin House. Read the article in The Birmingham Post.

Architecture practice BPN has been appointed to redesign the former Cadbury headquarters in Bournville into a host of luxury apartments.

The Jewellery Quarter-based firm is working with Birmingham developer Court Collaboration and Hong Kong-based Headland Developments on the £16 million project to redevelop Franklin House into 79 one- and two-bedroom apartments, including four penthouse suites.

China set to invest £105 billion in UK infrastructure by 2025, with property one of the biggest recipients. Read the article in The Financial Times.

China is set to invest £105bn in British infrastructure by 2025, with energy, property and transport the biggest recipients, according to research.

The world’s second-biggest economy has already invested £11.7bn in Britain between 2005 and 2013, including a 10 per cent stake in Thames Water, Britain’s biggest water utility, held by the China Investment Corporation, the sovereign wealth fund.