Construction activity in Birmingham is being led by the residential sector, and the second city is coming into its own when it comes to growth and future promise.
The latest Crane Survey delivered by Deloitte, which examines all the new projects taking place across some of the UK’s leading cities, details how Birmingham is going through a period of bullish market activity, and the only way to go for the city now is up.
It is one of the four top cities highlighted by Deloitte’s report, alongside Manchester, Leeds and Belfast. Often termed the UK’s ‘second city’ after London, the frenetic pace of construction activity there, and the prospects that brings to the area, demonstrate the importance of the location.
Over the course of 2022, the city gained a record-breaking 2,398 new homes to the market – which is the highest ever seen in the 20-year history of Deloitte’s Crane Survey. The number of homes under construction also leapt to 6,487 across 13 developments which were started in 2022, a 37% increase compared with 2021.
The importance of the city centre
Birmingham has an exciting 20-year Big City Plan, which is seen as the biggest and most ambitious project in the UK in terms of the magnitude of changes in the pipeline. It will affect housing, office space, leisure, transport, infrastructure and much more in the city centre, and the transformation has already begun.
Boosting the city centre population is a huge part of this, and demand has been swelling for a number of years in terms of the number of people hoping to move into the city to enjoy the regeneration taking place there. In total, there are now 33 residential projects underway.
According to Deloitte’s report, certain parts of the city centre in particular stand out, driven by high demand for luxury and top quality homes. The Jewellery Quarter is one part of the city that is thriving, with 13 active residential schemes currently underway there.
Digbeth, Southside and Westside are also hives of activity, with 910 homes, 948 homes and 1,020 homes respectively all in the pipeline in these areas. There are also three schemes underway in the Gun Quarter and City Core, with two schemes in the works in Eastside.
These areas are all attracting scores of property investors looking to capitalise on Birmingham’s impressive growth trajectory, and the city centre is set to be transformed by the new schemes.
Bold and bullish Birmingham
The Commonwealth Games last year was a catalyst for a lot of Birmingham’s recent regeneration, and made the city more widely known and appreciated by people from all over the world.
Deloitte’s report notes that the legacy of the Games has already contributed around £870.7m to the UK economy, which has benefitted both communities and businesses across the West Midlands.
The report adds: “The city welcomed over five million visitors throughout its duration but its success will not only be attributed to the duration of the competition alone, but also reflected in the legacy of the Games and the city’s ability to attract inward investment, sustain tourism and build on its global reputation.
“Now is the time for Birmingham to be bold. The Games put the West Midlands in the global sporting spotlight, and it is already reaping the benefits of its success.”
Some big businesses have already migrated to the city, which is another major boost the local economy and its appeal to residents and investors. The BBC is one such company, as a major employer in the area, alongside Goldman Sachs. Other big employers in and around the city are National Express, Sainsbury’s and Rolls-Royce.
Deloitte adds: “Residential schemes are on the rise, not only in the number of developments breaking ground, but also in terms of scale. Birmingham’s ever-changing skyline is reaching new heights as the demand for city living continues to thrive.
“With premium space in the city centre becoming scarcer, and a sustained demand for large, well-located schemes remaining strong, there is only one way to go – and that is up!”