Should You
Live In Birmingham

Living In Birmingham.

Birmingham or Brum (as the locals know it) is quickly becoming one of Britain’s best places to live. Named among the premier living locations by the Sunday Times in 2022, more and more people are choosing to live, work, and play in the city.

The birthplace of Tennis, the FA Cup, and Cadbury Chocolate, the city has had a surprising influence on English culture. And while London has long been considered the top dog, the UK’s second city is quickly becoming the number one choice for UK house hunters.

But is the city right for you? And should you live there? Here are five reasons why living in Birmingham rocks in 2022.

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birmingham-area-guide

Got Questions?
Well, We’ve Got Answers

House prices are reaching record highs across the UK, especially in big cities, with many residents willing to pay extra for the opportunities offered by city life. And while Birmingham’s prices are rapidly rising, they’re still amongst the UK’s most affordable.

Despite being a major city with a vast economy, the average house price in Birmingham is an incredible £307,003 CHEAPER than London. That means you could buy two homes in Birmingham for the price of one in the capital.

Birmingham job market has seen some major growth in 2022. Now the chosen home to major employers like Deutsche Bank and PwC, many businesses are leaving the capital behind for the opportunities in Brum.

Many of these opportunities are centred on Birmingham’s bustling city centre, which is set to grow even further thanks to massive regeneration initiatives. The likes of HS2 – a new high-speed rail system – and Birmingham’s ambitious Big City Plan are set to create a combined 80,000 new jobs in the coming years.

For many people trying to buy a home, being surrounded by like-minded people is vital. This is especially true when you’re moving to a new neighbourhood or city, as you’ll want to feel welcome.

Good news if you’re a young professional or student, as Birmingham is one of Europe’s youngest cities. Research has found that a staggering 40% of Birmingham’s thriving population is under 25.

Whether you’re thinking of an afternoon stroll or want some fresh air in your lungs, green spaces are one of the biggest pulls to an area. In fact, research from estate agents Benham and Reeves found that access to outside space and proximity to a park are two of the top three most important priorities for renters.

Birmingham is the UK’s greenest city, with 15.58% of the city made up of green space, higher than the likes of Nottingham (15.34%), Glasgow (13.49%), and Manchester (13.49%).

City Green Space %
Birmingham 15.58%
Nottingham 15.34%
Glasgow 13.49%
Manchester 13.13%
Liverpool 12.79%
Southampton 10.66%
Newcastle upon Tyne 9.87%
Brighton and Hove 9.87%
Salford 9.52%
Edinburgh 9.26%
Coventry 8.81%
Cambridge 8.12%
Aberdeen 8.09%
Cardiff 8.04%
Sunderland 8.04%
Bristol 6.76%
Leeds 6.57%
Plymouth 5.39%
London 1.20%

Having good (and reliable) transport links is crucial whether you’re looking to meet up with friends or commute. And while Birmingham can’t compete with the efficiency and affordability of London’s iconic Tube, the UK’s second city has more than enough to tick your transport boxes.

Public transport can be excellent in Birmingham, with a city-wide Metro system, regular buses, and a tonne of trains available for residents. There’s even the nearby Birmingham Airport, formerly Birmingham International Airport, giving locals access to over 150 direct destinations from across the globe.

How (And Why) Are House Prices Rising In Birmingham?

Over the last few years, there’s been a huge uplift in house prices seen across the UK. And this is especially true in Birmingham. Since January 2021, prices in the UK’s second city have increased by £21,095 from £199,982 to £221,077.  

It’s been a similar story for the prices paid by first-time buyers, showing an almost identical growth trend with prices rising by £18,198.

Prices grew even higher in 2020 when prices paid by first-time buyers soared by £18,476 in just 12 months. So, what gives? Why are Birmingham’s prices rising at such an unprecedented rate?

The biggest contributor to prices rising is demand, and houses across the country have encountered record-breaking demand over the last three years. Limited spending opportunities due to the Covid-19 lockdown have led to huge cash reserves for families, the second-highest level on record.

With so much cash swimming about in back pockets, many homeowners have been eager to make the switch. Other contributors to demand have been the record low levels of interest rates seen across the UK and the Stamp Duty Tax Holiday, which drastically increased the purchasing power of buyers. 

Although the tax holiday has ended and interest rates are returning to normal, demand has persisted. Our friends at Rightmove found that the Spring of 2022 saw the biggest mismatch ever between supply and demand. There were more than twice as many buyers as sellers in the UK.  

Will Prices in Birmingham Continue to Rise?

Growth levels are seriously high in Birmingham, and this has already been felt in 2022 with a sharp rise in prices in the first quarter.

Looking at Land Registry UK House Price Index data, the prices paid by first-time buyers in Birmingham have increased by 7.71% in the last 12 months. Over the same period, London (3.96%) and Manchester (5.38%) have seen less growth.

And looking at predictions of further growth in Birmingham by JLL, it seems that if you’re considering buying a Birmingham home, now might be the preferred time to do it.

The property company predicts that Birmingham will have the highest growth out of any UK city, with an average annual price rise of 4.9% between now and 2026. In 2022 alone, JLL anticipates a 6% rise, with a 5% and 4% rise in the two years after.

It’s no surprise these predictions are in place. Birmingham is set to benefit from huge investments in the coming years. The Commonwealth Games was hosted in the summer of 2022 and saw a £778m investment into the city and the West Midlands region.

Birmingham is also poised to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the upcoming HS2, with major infrastructure improvements looking to add up to 80,000 new jobs to the city alongside the Big City Plan.

With such an attractive prospect, is there any wonder people are eager to move to the UK’s second city?

Source: JLL, Oxford Economics

 Should You Buy a New Build or an Existing Property in 2023?

 If you’re like many other first-time buyers, you may have your eyes on a new build. Newly built homes are often the preferred choice for first-time buyers, with a host of schemes available to reduce costs. 

That’s not to mention the benefits of a new build home, such as great energy efficiency and developer incentives like below-market prices.

 Unfortunately, new build homes can be costly. Despite generally lacking the space of older properties, the so-called new build premium means you could be paying tens of thousands extra for the privilege.

This is also the case in Brum, which sees new build properties sold for an average of £287,800. Compare this to the average paid for existing properties, £211,984. These prices could put you off, especially when you consider that £287,800 falls outside the limit for Help to Buy in the West Midlands.

But keep in mind that this is just an average, and you’ll find plenty of homes under (and over) this average. As we’ll discuss later, first-time buyer schemes can make new build homes far more affordable. And although the average price is higher, you may pay less than buying an existing property.  

The only issue you’ll likely have with securing a new build home is finding one. Construction delays have led to a stark decrease in available properties, with buyer demand so high in Birmingham that the few properties that get built are snapped up quickly.

 According to Land Registry data, just 363 new build homes were sold in 2021. This is 636 less than 2020 and 1,093 fewer than 2019. 

However, if you’ve got the cash and the patience to find one, buying a new build can be an excellent first home for Birmingham buyers.

Considering investing in Birmingham property? View our complete Birmingham property investment guide.

birmingham-area-guide

Cost Of Living In Birmingham

Birmingham is an affordable place to live. Alongside its below average house prices, the cost of living in the West Midlands behemoth is equally low.

According to the cost of living experts Numbeo, the estimated monthly expenses for a single person excluding rent is £651. Meanwhile, a family of four has estimated costs of just over £2,220 per month.

In context, this is quite incredible given the wealth of employment opportunities in the city. Birmingham is 7.24% less expensive than Liverpool and 6.97% lower than Manchester. It’s also a staggering 23.30% lower than London.

Transport

The city of Birmingham is blessed with some great transport links, with easy navigation via car, public transport, and foot.

Birmingham’s city centre is especially walkable, with the likes of Birmingham New Street Station and the city-wide metro system providing travel further afield. Brum even has its own international airport connected to the city via a rail system.

Buses and trams are operated by Network West Midlands and can command different prices depending on where you go. A one-day bus pass can set you back £4.80 for an adult peak, while a combined ticket for buses and trams can set you back £6.80 a day.

However, for a monthly bus pass across the West Midlands, you can pay £50 a month.

Council Tax

Council tax is an annual fee paid to your local council and is based on your circumstances, the value of your property, and how much the council needs to generate.

Tax bands range from A to H (A being the cheapest), based on how much your property would have sold for on the open market on April 1st, 1991.

In Birmingham, Band A rates start at £1,205.50 in 2022/23 before rising to £3,616.51 in Band H.