Chinese property investors are increasingly turning to Birmingham as an affordable alternative to London.
Britain’s second-largest city is undergoing a revival, attracting investors with splashy new infrastructure and a better rental income return.
The value of the average residential property in Birmingham increased 6.9% in May this year to £180,320, according to the UK Land Registry.
That compares with an average 0.4% decline in the price of London residential properties to £478,853.
Carrie Law, chief executive of Chinese agency Juwai.com, which last year launched an online platform to sell international properties to mainland Chinese buyers, said the number of enquiries received by her firm for Birmingham properties surged 65% year-on-year in the first five months of the year.
“Two-thirds of our buyers in London are purchasing for their own use. But in Birmingham, only a quarter are doing the same,” she told the South China Morning Post.
Stanley Cheung, head of sales and projects at Hong Kong-based real estate agency and developer FMI, added that 70% of its buyers are investors, while the rest mainly buy property for their children studying in the city.
Birmingham city council published a development blueprint in late 2016 for the redevelopment of 14 hectares of land near the city’s centre, envisioning 300,000 square metres of new building floor space and 2,000 new homes, involving some £500 million of investment.
Another major factor driving investment is the high-speed London-Birmingham express line, which is due to be completed by the end of 2026.
Global bank HSBC announced in 2015 it would move the head office of its UK non-investment banking operation from London to Birmingham by the start of next year.
Around 6,000 people moved from London to Birmingham in the 12 months to mid-2015, rising to around 6,400 in the 12 months to mid-2016.