Some big changes are coming to Birmingham and the West Midlands. Thanks to a major upcoming transport boost, the property market there is set to become even more attractive.
Ongoing regeneration in the West Midlands, including a focus on the city of Birmingham, is playing a big role in changing the face of the area. Last month, Birmingham City Council extended its transport plan which will transform how people travel in and around the city.
As with any significant regeneration plans, the property market will see the benefits directly. As the area becomes a more appealing place to live and work, increased investment in local housing will add a further boost. One leading estate agent is predicting a regional house price boom as a result.
Higher house prices near train lines
One key driver behind future house price growth is the planned new Metro lines and stations. This is the focus of a recent study by Barrows and Forrester estate agents.
Its team looked at current house prices close to existing Metro lines, compared to places further from stations. The agent’s findings showed that while properties near the line were worth an average £226,909, those where line extensions were underway were currently worth around £189,507. The data shows how much potential the housing markets in these areas have once the plans come to fruition.
James Forrester, managing director at Barrows and Forrester, said: “The current and continued development of the West Midlands transport network will play a vital part in building the region’s future and will help boost the local economy across a number of fronts.”
“One such boost will almost certainly be the pockets of the local property market, due to benefit from these developments and homeowners can expect to see the value of their property increase as these extensions become operational.”
“As our research shows, there is already a notable gap between property prices in areas already serviced by the Metro and those due to join the network.”
What are the plans for Birmingham?
Alongside Birmingham City Council’s existing transport upgrade plans, it released a new Emergency Transport Plan last week. This set out some new measures in light of both COVID-19 and maximising Birmingham’s green standards.
The government also announced a £2bn package to “support active travel” last month in the wake of coronavirus. Birmingham City Council’s latest plan “prioritises and accelerates” some of its existing plans based on this.
The four major changes proposed by the council are:
- Reallocating road space – to support the creation of safe space for walking, cycling and social distancing while maintaining public transport provision.
- Transforming the city centre – through the creation of walking and cycling routes alongside public transport services and limited access for private cars.
- Prioritising active travel in local neighbourhoods – so that walking and cycling is the way most people get around their local area most of the time and these become places where people are put first, creating stronger communities.
- Managing demand through parking measures – where land and space currently occupied by car parking is repurposed for walking, cycling and social distancing.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, said: “COVID-19 has greatly impacted our city like many others. We must now ensure our city is well-prepared to provide all our communities with the opportunity to deliver a green, sustainable recovery. Transport and connectivity is critical to that and our Emergency Birmingham Transport Plan is the first step to this response.
“We must learn from the lockdown and consider how we can get our city moving in a safe, healthy and effective way. During the lockdown period, road traffic across Birmingham has reduced by 60% over several weeks. This has created a quieter, safer environment for walking and cycling with much-improved air quality.”
Investing with transport in mind
Evidence from a number of past reports shows the positive impact transport has on house prices. For property investors, it can also be key to a successful investment in terms of rental demand. Looking for property in an area with either excellent existing or future transport links will attract a wider range of tenants.
Researchers from the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds looked at how transport links make locations more attractive. They also assessed factors like ease of access to employment, school, local facilities and green spaces. It found that being able to walk to work has the biggest impact on property prices. As such, city centre locations often prove popular among investors.
The study showed that rail access can add 14% to property prices. For every additional 10,000 jobs that are readily accessible by rail, there’s an average property premium of 0.16%.
The report also showed how past investment in transport within the north has boosted the property market. The Manchester Metrolink extensions that have been built since 1995 were a focus of the study.
These extensions increased house prices near new stations by an average of 6.3%. Homes near the South Manchester Line saw an average increase of 10.5%. Meanwhile, the Airport Line had a whopping 20.9% increase.
For property investors looking at Birmingham, the whole city is arguably set to benefit from the vast transport improvements on the way. Areas closest to the main regeneration hotspots are likely to see the biggest rises. As the council puts its proposals in place, housing demand is likely to increase in many locations across the city.