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Birmingham property investment portfolio

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Welcome to Birmingham

Famous for its manufacturing roots, Birmingham is one of the UK’s most vibrant cities and has plenty of attractions that put the city on the map, including its extensive network of canals, its nightlife, and its popularity as a shopping destination.

The city has a global appeal and is home to the most Michelin star restaurants outside of London. In addition, its Jewellery Quarter is renowned for producing almost 40% of all the UK’s jewellery, the highest concentration in Europe. From its iconic music roots to the modern-day buzz created by the Peaky Blinders TV show, Birmingham is genuinely one of the UK’s most exciting cities.

Birmingham Property market overview

UK's Second City and home to 2.6 million people.
40% of the population aged under 25.
80,000-strong student population.
£1.3 billion investment program underway.
Over the last 10 years, average prices increased by 45.94%.
16.5% house price forecast between 2020 – 2024.
15.9% rental growth expected between 2020 – 2024.

UK’s second largest city

Widely referred to as the UK’s ‘Second City’, Birmingham is the largest UK city outside of London and is home to 1.1 million people and 2.6 million in the wider metropolitan area.

Boasting one of the fastest-growing city centres in the country, Birmingham’s population increased by 163% between 2002 and 2015 (ONS).

And, if recent trends continue, Birmingham’s population is expected to climb to 1,186,000 by 2028 and to 1,230,000 in 2038 (2020 Birmingham Demographic Brief).

Situated in the West Midlands, Birmingham is the logistical centre of the UK and is essentially within 4-hours of most major cities. Its prime location alongside multimillion-pound investment in infrastructure is expected to help the city to grow strongly in economic and demographic terms.

Birmingham has plenty of attributes that could capture the interest of property investors, including a steady trend of price growth and a strong appeal to people who want to live and work in a big city.

Birmingham Investment Property

If long-term capital growth is one of your goals, you’ll want to know more about recent house price trends in Birmingham.

Over the last 10 years, average prices soared by more than 45.94%, with the average cost of properties in Birmingham now standing at £216,302 as of November 2021 (Zoopla).

Birmingham consistently featured among the top 10 UK cities based on year-on-year price growth in Hometrack’s monthly price reports, and according to JLL, this trend is set to continue over the next five years.

Looking to the future, there’s every reason for investors to feel optimistic about the ongoing expansion of Birmingham’s property market. In fact, JLL 2020 Vision expects the average value of property in Birmingham to climb by 16.5% between 2020 and 2024 – slightly higher than the UK average of 14.8% over the same period.

Buy to let in Birmingham

When it comes to investing in rental property, demand for property is crucial. According to Deloitte, the need for Build to Rent and PRS schemes ‘continues to remain strong’ in Birmingham.

With around 40% of the population aged under 25, investors have a real opportunity to capitalise on the strong demand for privately operated rental properties across the city. However, securing high occupancy rates is just one component for buy-to-let success.

Current trends show very positive signs for buy to let in Birmingham, with the city recording the largest increase in rental demand from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021 with a 25.2% rise. What’s more, data from property portal Rightmove revealed that rental enquiries increased by 51% in the city.

In the last four months alone, the cost of renting increased by an average of 2.5%, according to the latest Zoopla Rental Index.

When it comes to future growth, one of the most profitable and interesting trends property investors should keep an eye out for is the rare occasion when both property values and rental yields are forecast to rise at a similar – if not the same – pace.


Where to buy in Birmingham 2022

When considering where to buy in Birmingham in 2022 and beyond, investors should always consider ongoing regeneration projects that have the potential to drive growth in the property market. Luckily, investors are presented with many choices across the city’s districts when it comes to investing in property in Birmingham. Using our strict due diligence process, Surrenden Invest has pinpointed the best buy to let locations that are set to offer investors the strongest long-term growth potential.

With the Big City Plan being extended by 20 years to 2040, one of the most significant changes we will see to Birmingham’s infrastructure other than HS2 is the Metro Tram extension. Over the coming years, the network will triple in size as a massive £1.3 billion investment programme.

The Metro will serve over 80 tram stops and more than 20 transport interchanges whilst linking Wolverhampton to the West of the City to Birmingham Airport and the NEC to the East.

With Phase One completed in 2019, Phase Two will include the Birmingham Westside extended from Library tram stop in Centenary Square along Broad Street to Hagley Road in Edgbaston.

The Eastside Metro extension to Digbeth will connect to the HS2 station at Curzon Street, and will also offer connections to New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill Railway Stations.

Due to its proximity to the Grand Union Canal and Digbeth Branch Canal, Digbeth was an industrial hub and was famously known for being home to the HQ of Typhoo Tea. The area is now known as a home for creative industries, with the Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios hosting a huge variety of digital and cultural businesses.

Digbeth is now a showcase of Birmingham’s past and future, with modern apartments built into its old warehouses, making it one of the City’s most vibrant places.

Edgbaston is an affluent area in Birmingham off Hagley Road, well-known for its green spaces and Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It is also home to England’s premier cricket venue, Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

There are plenty of other attractions, including the Victorian Campus of Birmingham University and multiple Michelin-starred restaurants.

Before being named one of the best places to live by The Times, the leafy suburb of Harborne has long been a favourite for locals.  Located 10 minutes from the City Centre, this village-like area is popular among families and young professionals. In addition, it has emerged as the go-to option for wealthy overseas students and academics studying longer courses like law and medicine at university.

Boasting character properties and a selection of restaurants and bars, this high-end suburb is an excellent alternative for those looking for exceptional value for money.

The Jewellery Quarter contains Europe’s largest concentration of manufacturing jewellers producing more than 40% of UK jewellery output.

But the Jewellery Quarter is more than its namesake. This corner of the city is home to around 150 independent specialist retailers and craftspeople of the highest local, national, and international quality and is a stone’s throw from Birmingham City Centre.

For those seeking swanky bars, micro-breweries, traditional pubs and the best restaurants, the Jewellery Quarter offers a nightlife that is a refreshing alternative to the hustle and bustle of Birmingham centre. It is a thriving cultural hub offering a city centre location with a village community feel.

The perfect choice for people who want a brand-new property in the bustling heart of Birmingham. Ideal for young professionals, it is adjacent to the Mailbox and canal network that connects to Brindley place in a few minutes. One of Birmingham’s most exciting mixed-use developments is also in the pipeline in the shape of the SBQ Building – a curved structure that runs from Holloway Head down to the Bullring. The £350 million development by CEG will deliver over 300 new apartments, Grade A office space and new retail outlets.

If you are looking for a slice of luxury living, Birmingham’s Mailbox is the City’s most affluent area. This unique location is a mix of commercial and residential properties styled around the canals. Those living in the area have the finer things in life on their doorstep, including high-end shops like Harvey Nichols and five-star dining experiences. It is also home to the BBC’s Broadcast Support Centre, TV and Radio Studio, and the Tours Visitor Centre.

As you follow the canal from the Mailbox, Brindleyplace is another waterfront area popular with young professionals. With a mixture of bars, restaurants, and large employers, including Deloitte and Deutsche Bank, located here, it’s a one-stop shop for those living there.

The area is also home to some of Birmingham’s attractions, including the National Sea Life Centre, Ikon Gallery, Library and the Crescent Theatre.

Birmingham’s Gun Quarter is yet to emerge as a prominent buy-to-let location; however, this could change as part of the Big City Plan in a few years.

The area gets its catchy name from its gun-manufacturing routes and is predominately an industrial quarter to the north of the City Centre. With Snowhill Wharf spearheading regeneration in the area, to date, Purpose Built Student Accommodation has been the main type of housing development in the area due to its proximity to the University of Birmingham and Aston University.

Directly to the South of New Street Station with a Granite Pagoda sitting on Holloway Circus to mark the edge sits the City’s thriving Chinese Quarter with its busy streets and alleyways filled with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean eateries.

Adjacent to the Chinese Quarter sits the popular residential area of Southside – highly sought after by both students and professionals alike.

The residential redevelopment of the area is now starting to push further afield into the B5 postcode and away from the City Centre. With a host of prominent inner-city developments earmarked around Kent Street – which borders Southside – to further down Bristol Street, where a number of the National Housebuilders are undertaking large scale housing developments.

Located seven miles to the South East of Birmingham, Solihull offers the best of both worlds for the perfect mix of city and country living. With numerous highly-ranked schools, Solihull is an ideal location for families with over 1500 acres of parks, easy transport links into Birmingham, an excellent choice for commuters and next door to the Airport and NEC.

Is Birmingham good for property investment?

When considering a good location for property investment, it is wise to consider what is driving the market. Given the overall lack of housing across the UK, it will come as no surprise that Council figures show that around 80,000 new homes are needed in Birmingham by 2031. However, the National Housing Federation estimates show that an additional 18,000 units are required to make up for a shortfall of 45,000 homes over the last five years. According to JLL, outside of London, Birmingham requires the highest amount of new-build housing over the next 10 years, with 4,000 new homes needed per annum to keep up with demand. When compared to Manchester (2,500), Liverpool (850), and Leeds (1,200), the level of housing required in Birmingham is significantly higher. With an average of only 900 new homes per annum delivered in Birmingham over the last 10 years – less than a quarter of the 4,000 needed – demand is likely to continue to outstrip supply over the coming years.

On the subject of development, this is another area where there are plenty of positives for Birmingham’s property market, which will provide further encouragement for investors.

Deloitte’s latest crane survey for 2021 – which monitored construction activity across various real estate sectors, including residential and student housing – highlighted the “huge resilience” regional cities have shown in the face of recent economic uncertainty. For example, the study revealed that Birmingham delivered record volumes of city centre homes and student accommodation last year, plus the completion of just over 210,000 sq ft in offices.

While the coronavirus situation impacted construction activity and other aspects of Birmingham’s real estate sector, what won’t change is the enormous appeal of the city itself and the essential strength of its housing market.

Many developers are also now taking advantage of the strong demand for rental properties by offering off-plan investment in units of purpose-built rental accommodation, which often comes with a lower entry price for investors.

Buyers who commit to property investment, albeit residential or commercial assets in Birmingham, can expect to benefit from its unique attributes and massive potential in the shape of the arrival of HS2 and a multitude of regeneration projects.

In recent years, one of the defining trends in UK property has been the steady reversal of the north/south power divide, with regional cities hubs seeing strong growth and demonstrating that the country’s economy and the housing market is about much more than London.

In no city has this been more evident than Birmingham – one of the UK’s most exciting, culturally distinct cities. This thriving destination has plenty going for it, including a strong economy, a solid track record for price growth and big-city appeal, which helps to ensure steady demand for homes in the buy to let sector.

A robust local economy and consistently high rates of employment are positive signs for buy-to-let property investors. In addition, growing businesses and an expanding working population mean more demand for property on the private rental market, which fuels regular returns for investors and keeps the risk of void periods to a minimum.

Birmingham has demonstrated its strength where economic development and job generation are concerned in recent years. Data from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) shows that, in the second quarter of 2021, Birmingham’s gross value added – a measure of the value of goods and services produced in the area – increased by 24.7%, compared to 23% for the UK as a whole.

The firm released another report showing that Birmingham will deliver the 9th fastest year-on-year GVA growth of the 50 cities analysed by the end of 2021. Factors including a steady supply of skilled graduates and an expanding e-commerce sector helped the city bounce back following the Covid-19 restrictions.

More recent figures, published by real estate advisory firm JLL, highlighted how accelerating job generation and predictions of economic growth outpacing the regional averages fuelled Birmingham’s property market.

For buy-to-let investors, trends in employment and the economy will always be a consideration to ensure that they enter a market with a steady demand for rental properties in the area where they are buying.

With five universities, Birmingham attracts many students from all corners of the world and boasts an 80,000-strong student population.

Ranked seventh on the UK’s QS Best Student Cities, Birmingham is a popular university city with both the University of Birmingham and Aston University consistently ranked in the top 50 UK universities. The prestigious University of Birmingham is also a member of the Russell Group.

UK university towns and cities with a large student population are often at the top of their wish list for many buy-to-let investors. Locations that offer excellent employment opportunities for newly qualified students and have a high graduate retention rate often lead to a swell in renters in the Private Rental Sector (PRS).

Birmingham is home to the UK’s fourth highest graduate retention rate, with 41% of university leavers staying in the city. Amenities including nightlife and shopping were one of the most significant factors for graduates to stay (74%), with transport (74%), and its atmosphere (66%), contributing to their decision.

Birmingham also performs better than most cities when it comes to retaining those who had left to study elsewhere, with 53% ending back in the city to pursue their chosen career.

With 32% of Birmingham’s population aged between 15 and 34, the city offers property investors real potential to secure a reliable rental return from a property from an evergreen source of tenants.

Birmingham vs London

For a long time, the promise of HS2 has been the main reason for property investors to consider Birmingham, reducing the city to ‘commuter belt status’ for Londoners.  However, with a significant amount of investment going into the city, living and working in Birmingham is starting to make a comeback.

HS2 is already impacting Birmingham and has helped to raise its profile in both residential and business terms. As the line’s opening nears, which will see travel times reduce from around one hour 21 minutes by train to 52 minutes, Birmingham’s status as a property hotspot is likely to improve.

What does the resurgence of Birmingham mean for investors? In simple terms, it means more opportunity for investors who no longer need to face the stiff competition and high prices of residential and commercial property in London from domestic and overseas buyers.

In addition, investors can secure lower entry-level opportunities in the West Midlands than they could in London. As a result, they will benefit from stronger anticipated capital gains and yield growth than what is forecast for the Capital’s market.

Whether buying a residential or commercial property, regional cities like Birmingham are now accelerating faster than London, so the potential for making a fantastic return on investment and a steady rental income is there.

Investors who stop comparing Birmingham to London and appreciate the value and potential its property market offers will be rewarded over the long term.

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Recent regeneration work has transformed huge swathes of Birmingham city centre, creating a world-class contemporary urban environment. Key developments include the modern Bull Ring shopping centre (2003), the Rotunda (2008), the 23-storey, mixed use Cube building (2010) and the £193 million Library of Birmingham (2013). In terms of areas, Digbeth and Birmingham Smithfield are undergoing extensive change.


A huge part of Birmingham’s regeneration work has focused on improvements to its transportation infrastructure. Birmingham Coach Station, New Street Station and Birmingham Airport have all been expanded and improved, while the arrival of HS2 in 2026 is driving a wave of regeneration activity and transport projects.


For those living, working and investing in Birmingham, it’s all about Digbeth. The city’s creative quarter, Digbeth is packed with entrepreneurs and creative types, who flock to its superb cafes and restaurants, as well as enjoying an extensive range of cultural pursuits. Property investment companies are also excited about Birmingham Smithfield right now, with the 10-year, 17-hecatre redevelopment offering a “once in a generation opportunity.”


A number of factors drive the potential for healthy yields in Birmingham. The rapidly expanding city centre population, growing private rented sector and lack of homes are three of the main drivers. Meanwhile, Birmingham’s thriving business sector and 65,000-strong body of students both serve to fuel demand for homes, impacting property investment company business across the city. Property investment UK opportunities don’t get much better when it comes to yields.