Birmingham is profiting from its political importance
In our article ‘Transport in Birmingham – your link to off-plan investment success’, we described how Birmingham’s geographical position puts it at the heart of UK connectivity. It benefits from great road and rail links to the rest of the UK, and when HS2 arrives, the city could become a residential destination for commuters into London.
However, there’s a new reason why Birmingham should be top of your property investment opportunities list: politics. We believe that Birmingham is in line for favourable treatment from the government, and it’s already started. In this article, we explain how this could benefit property investors in Birmingham for years to come.
Politics – the forgotten force behind property investment potential
After the last round of local elections and the general election earlier this year, we suspected that Birmingham would start to see a financial boost from central government that would boost property investment opportunities. It became the only major city in the UK with a Conservative mayor.
With everything else going on in politics today – Brexit, and an unexpected revival of Labour fortunes in the 2017 general election, for example – the government really could do with a good new story to tempt voters back to it. Enter Birmingham. If West Midlands Mayor Andy Street’s term in office is a success, the politicos in Whitehall will use it as proof that their way is the best way for the UK. Thus, in this time of continuing austerity, Birmingham is likely to fare better than, say, Liverpool or Newcastle. And property investors can use this insight to their advantage.
Midlands Metro – becoming a driver of commuter access
In his manifesto, Mayor Andy Street promised to improve Birmingham’s transport network. The extension of the city’s tram system is central to those commitments. Until 2016, trams travelled no further than Snow Hill. Travelling out of the city, they didn’t take passengers to the centre of Wolverhampton. All this is changing – thanks largely to £60 million from central government.
Commuters will soon be able to travel from the heart of Birmingham to the heart of Wolverhampton by tram. It’s going to make journeys faster and the city greener. It should make a positive impact to property prices along the Midlands Metro routes, and that’s great for investors who buy property today.
Three new stations last year – five more on their way
Last year Midlands Metro added three new stations, terminating at the newly renovated New Street station. Now the tram route will extend for more than a mile further, with the addition of five new stations on the way from New Street to Hagley Road.
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There will be up to 10 trams during peak hours serving the five new stops at:
- The Town Hall
- Centenary Square, for access to the ICC and Library
- Brindleyplace, where you’ll find some of Birmingham’s best restaurants
- Broad Street, ideal for Cineworld visitors
- Hagley Road, near to Morrisons supermarket
(Hey, don’t underestimate the supermarket effect on property prices!)
The Centenary Square stop also makes the tram an ideal solution for people who work in the new HSBC headquarters there.
Work has already started on the extension, and trams should be fully operational along the route by the spring of 2021.
When announcing the funding, Transport Minister Paul Maynard said:
“Midland Metro is already a success story, with passenger journeys up nearly a third this year compared to last year.
“This new extension will be a further boost to Birmingham businesses and make travelling to work easier for commuters. But, just as importantly, it will help ease the pressure on the roads as it will provide an alternative for getting in and out of the city centre. It is a vital project and one which we are delighted to be able to support.”
Birmingham is turning greener with ‘Street Cycles’
Birmingham’s transport plans include a greener environment, and the new tram routes support this. Also supporting green transport is Mayor Street’s approval for a bike rental scheme like that introduced so successfully in London by Boris Johnson.
Mayor Street said:
“Everybody is aware of the congestion challenges facing the West Midlands and that we need to take bold and ambitious steps to tackle this. The revolution in public transport – with the new tram line, railways reopened and improved bus services – are of course important. But we need to do more to supercharge walking and cycling.
“We need to look at new ways of encouraging cycling in our towns and cities, and this is one of the ways we are planning to do this.”
A commercial sponsor will partly fund the scheme, and cyclists will be able to use either a smartphone app or hotline number to reserve their bikes before collecting from bike terminals.
London had ‘Boris Bikes’. Birmingham is soon to get ‘Street Cycles’. That’s not an official name for the scheme, by the way. Just my nickname for it. I think it may catch on!
Live with passion,