In 2017 Birmingham was named the most improved city in the UK to live and work by PwC and think tank Demos. In the report factors such as work-life balance, transport, income, inequality and health were all taken into account. Birmingham’s improvements aided the city in making the top spot. This is due to its significant reduction in unemployment rates and multitude of regeneration projects. It also has the highest standard of living of all UK regional cities.
Strong Transport Links
One of Birmingham’s improvements is its strong transport links. Birmingham is the most connected city in the UK, thanks to its position in the centre of England. Excellent road, rail and air infrastructure means all major UK cities are reachable from Birmingham in less than four hours.
This has helped Birmingham grow as a centre for business and manufacturing. The city’s economy is worth £24.8 billion – the strongest outside of London. Furthermore it continues to be one the fastest growing in the UK. The wider West Midlands region saw job opportunities grow higher than almost anywhere else in the country, with an increase of 110,000 in 2016.
City of Youth
An estimated 45.7% of Birmingham’s 1.1 million population are under the age of 30, making it Europe’s youngest city. With 65,000 students studying at one of Birmingham’s seven institutes of higher education, there is a great opportunity to invest in student accommodation here.
Many graduates choose to stay in Birmingham, which – along with its central location – has helped lead to the highest numbers of start-ups being created anywhere outside of London (17,473 in 2016). The number of active businesses in Birmingham grew by 13% in 2016; three times the UK growth rate. Birmingham also has the largest number of professional services companies outside of the capital.
This dynamic jobs market is attracting many young professionals and families. Especially those from London who are searching for a better quality of life and more affordable housing. As more and more people seek high-quality, city-centre living Birmingham has shown itself to be a very appealing market for buy-to-let investors.