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Feeling Merry about the Black Country with new luxury development

July 3, 2014Article by Ray Withers

Being Birmingham born and bred, it always gives me a good feeling when I see new developments and regeneration in the Black Country. Traditionally known for being heavily industrialised with its coal mines, coking, iron foundries and steel mills (thus the rather less-than-flattering Black Country moniker), the West Midlands is now enjoying a clean and shiny new reputation.

Birmingham’s popularity spreading countywide

Birmingham itself was voted a ‘Destination of the Future’ by fDi Intelligence, is one of the highest performing cities in all of Europe and is the third most globally influential city in the UK (after London and Manchester). With an existing population of over a million and another 150,000 predicted to move there by 2031, it’s no surprise that the region’s popularity is spreading out across the county.

So although Birmingham leads the way in rising house prices at 11 per cent over the past year, the rest of the West Midlands aren’t far behind with a regional average of a healthy 8 per cent.  And it’s the local high-employment areas which are closest in the catch up stakes.

£400 million stakes in a blue-chip region

Dudley is one such boom town. With 2,500 new jobs created through local regeneration and a massive £400 million investment into the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, the area needs an additional 47,000 new houses to meet growing residential demand.

The Merry Hill centre attracts around 25 million region-wide shoppers a year, with anchor outlets including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, BHS, Primark, Sainsbury’s, Next and Asda. Developed in the late 1980s, it has 1.4 million square feet over two retail levels, with over 250 shops and 10,000 car parking spaces, along with an Odeon cinema and a food court. Already a success story, the centre is now in line for a major makeover since property group Intu invested £400 million for a 50 per cent stake.

Intu isn’t the only clever company to invest in the area either. The region’s high wealth and low unemployment come from diverse and numerous blue-chip companies including those in retail, manufacturing, logistics and financial services. Big names include Aston Martin, Tata Steel and Higgs 7 Co.

I covet The Waterfront

‘The Waterfront’ business campus, centred around an inland marina in the Midlands Waterways network and Dudley No.1 Canal, is the latest ‘place to be.’ Located West of Birmingham town centre and adjacent to the Brierley Hill town development, it is perfectly located for the M5, with further, improved train and tram transport links planned.

Following the current trend of waterfronts and quays being the most desirable locations, the existing two residential developments, totalling just 280 apartments, simply don’t come anywhere near to meeting demand.

That’s why a new development offering apartments in a landmark UK building, which will offer a selection of luxury apartments, many with floor to ceiling windows and balconies with spectacular views, is attracting such attention. We at Property Frontiers have been able to secure pre-launch access to this development, the design, quality and location of which alone would make it an excellent investment.

Perfect timing for a landmark investment

With official launch not expected until August 2014, we will soon be able to offer unique pre-launch investments at circa 10 per cent below the official launch prices and offering up to 8 per cent yields, with 7 per cent underwritten for the first year.

John Griffiths, Birmingham Office Market Forum Chairman, explains: “This is a landmark building with enormous potential. It is very high profile – overlooking a heritage canal basin and near to Europe’s biggest shopping centre … There are hundreds of millions of pounds being invested into Merry Hill, so this is a great time to be doing this.”

So watch this space for further details over the coming week, or get in touch today on +44 1865 202 700 to pre-register your interest.


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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