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Birmingham from boyhood to manhood – 35 years of Britain’s second city

March 7, 2014Article by Ray Withers

My parents lived in Halesowen when I was born, so I grew up in and around Birmingham. For me, the city is a place that will always be associated with family and with endless summer days spent racing around on my bike with my friends.

Birmingham has changed a lot in the 35 years since then, but despite growing to become Britain’s second most populous city it retains that essence of family life and security that is such a key component of childhood. Now, Birmingham means different things to me – most recently it has become the perfect buy-to-let destination – but the city has managed to add to its original charms over the years, rather than losing them along the way.

A sweet city

Every child who grew up in Birmingham will no doubt have fond memories of walking past the Cadbury factory. When the wind was blowing in the right direction, the scent of chocolate would carry on the breeze, making us youngsters rush to the nearest shop to treat ourselves to a bar or two. Today, the fantastic Cadbury World is one of the city’s quirkiest tourist attractions and a place that will no doubt be close to my young son’s heart as he grows up.

Of course, as a property investment specialist I now see the city through different eyes. Property prices in relation to yield are very attractive in Birmingham right now, as demand for housing has dramatically outstripped supply. City Council leader Sir Albert Bore observed last year that 80,000 new homes would be needed to meet the population increase of 150,000 that the city is expected to experience between now and 2031. With construction underway but still lagging far behind demand, the buy-to-let market in Birmingham is becoming increasingly attractive to investors.

A city of culture

Birmingham has become known as a business centre for global multi-nationals such as Price Waterhouse Cooper, Jaguar and Goodyear Dunlop. It is packed with students studying at Birmingham’s three universities. The new library opened last year after a £188 million development and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Birmingham Royal Ballet provide wonderful cultural attractions.

Vibrant urban areas such as Broad Street and Brindley Place (which is a faint memory of my teenage years) are lined with thriving bars and clubs, while restaurants and cafés abound. Birmingham’s growing reputation as a foodie destination even got it included in the New York Times in 2012 as one of the top 45 places to visit based on the city’s cuisine.

The right property at the right time

I’ve been waiting for the perfect Birmingham opportunity to offer to Property Frontiers’ clients. The new houses being built will enable yields of 7-8% and more, yet prices remain low when compared to London – the average house price from April to June last year was just £155,996, compared to a price of £155,996 for the average terrace house in London. Given the new High Speed Two rail link will cut the journey time between London and Birmingham to just 48 minutes, it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing to relocate here.

All of this adds up to me being confident that now is the right time to present a new buy-to-let opportunity in Birmingham to Property Frontiers’ clients. The prime city centre residential development consists of 20 levels of beautifully apportioned apartments, perfect for the young professionals who pack the city, in a landmark building. The emphasis is on style, luxury and impeccable design. Prices start at just £95,000 for a studio, rising to £159,200 for a 2 bedroom apartment, with staggered investment terms and up to 9% expected yield.

These days, I still travel back to Birmingham whenever I can. The city has changed a lot since my childhood but always for the better. For me, this new development is the perfect way to celebrate the city that has such a special place in my heart – I am proud to be able to share such a unique opportunity with Property Frontiers’ investors and give them the chance to benefit from Birmingham in the same way that I have done.

If you would like to know more about Property Frontiers’ high yielding buy-to-let opportunities in Birmingham city centre, get in touch today.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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