August 2015, cityscape of Birmingham, HDR-technique




Birmingham Displaces London as UK’s New Property Hotspot

Birmingham this year’s most attractive city for property investment in the UK

A new report published by the Urban Land Institute shows that Birmingham will overtake London this year as the UK’s most attractive city for property investment, as Asian and American funds buy up more of Britain’s buildings.

A shortage of available assets and high price tags on office buildings, residential blocks and retail outlets in cities such as London will drive investors to look at Birmingham, respondents in the report said.

Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Birmingham, West Midlands, England

The West Midlands city, which is undergoing massive city centre regeneration and will house the new HS2 headquarters, jumped 14 places in the index while the UK capital slipped from 5th to 10th.

“As confidence has returned to global real estate markets over recent years, there has been a progressive movement up the risk curve,” said ULI’s Lisette Van Doorn.

“Investors have found prime assets expensive and hard to source, and have in turn looked to find new opportunities in recovering secondary cities.”

“Real estate investors – armed with capital from sovereign wealth funds and pension funds from Asia and North America – are moving into less competitive environments,” she said, as 47% of respondents expressed concerns that a lack of supply would significantly impact their business.

But some property funds are already dealing with the fallout from the Russian economic crisis as a result of spiralling oil prices.

“Because we are present in nearly every country, whenever anything goes wrong we are hit,” said one senior executive at a global advisory group.

“Our Russian business, our Ukrainian business is pretty much on its knees. Our Turkish business is impacted. It is all because of geopolitics and has nothing to do with the economy or the real estate sector itself.”

And London, despite its safe haven reputation, is not immune to Europe’s economic woes.

As one London investor said: “The biggest threat to us is political instability, global trauma. If you look across the planet, it’s very scary. London is relatively safe but if there is global disruption, yields in the City of London will be hit”.