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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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