Often overlooked internationally, Birmingham, the ‘second city’ of the UK, and the Midlands region, have a lot to offer someone who is either considering moving to, or investing in, the UK. The national and international perceptions of the city are fast changing as it broadens further its diverse economic sectors, attracts many young and entrepreneurial professionals, and endeavours with its ‘City-Plan’, redeveloping and rejuvenating a lot of its central real estate and communal spaces…
This has also contributed to an increase in its visitor economy. A £120 billion economic powerhouse of the UK, the largest concentration of employees outside of London at 715,000, and set to stage the Commonwealth games in 2022, Birmingham really is on the map of destinations in the UK. With all this going for it, both UK residents and foreign nationals should consider as a potential home.
The Midland’s Industries
The Midlands region is renowned for its mobility, automotive, health and life sciences sectors, backed by its strong innovation resources and networks, including 5 universities with internationally recognised research facilities. Warwick University and University of Birmingham, are both in the top 20 of UK universities for fields such as engineering, the creative industries, low carbon fuel technology and medical sciences. Birmingham has a growing number of businesses, jobs and high net-worth investment opportunities. It is also home to the highly regarded Aston Business School which offers an MBA programme amongst many other courses. Many significant international businesses, particularly in professional and business services, have either their headquarters or an office in the city too.
Steeped in history, with an abundance of beautiful countryside, whether you’re living in the region’s biggest city, Birmingham, or surrounding cities and towns, you’re never more than around 30 minutes away from rolling fields and some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes. The luxury of city life with country life on your doorstep really is the best of both worlds offering a fantastic quality of life. Its pivotal position in the centre of the UK, in conjunction with great transport links to the north and the south, really does mean that it is a great place to make a home in the UK.
Finally, what with the Midlands water coming from the Welsh mountains, being home to Shakespeare, and with Birmingham hosting the largest Christmas markets in the world outside of Germany and Austria, the region is rich in culture, it is cosmopolitan, and in all honestly, a very friendly fun place to live!
A few Midland’s gems worth visiting…
Below, we have put together a quick list of some of the best spots to visit in the Midlands. This gives you a snapshot of that city and country life mentioned above, but for a more in-depth breakdown of the Midlands, check out our Midlands Destination in Focus coming soon!
Straddled across the West Midlands and South West England, the Cotswolds, designated as an Area of Outstanding Beauty, should be top of your list to visit when exploring the Midlands. Littered with villages offering ‘picture postcard’ landscapes, the architecture, built from Costwold stone, a yellow oolitic Jurassic limestone rich in fossils particularly sea urchins, is something to be admired and really does transport you into another world. With villages such as Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Slaughters and Aldestrop, to name but a few, there are many places to stop, shop in independently run shops, grab afternoon tea or a delicious meal in the many cafés and pubs. Take note of the old wide pavements and carefully maintained landscapes. These areas are often used to shoot period dramas as they’ve kept many of the original features authentic to that era!
Warwick & Leamington Spa
Warwick, a market and country town, is comprised of an array of historic buildings, notably from the Medieval, Stuart and Georgian eras. The main attraction to visit in the town, and one frequented by visitors from far and wide, is Warwick Castle. Dating back to the medieval period, Warwick Castle was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 as a wooden fort.
Neighbouring Leamington Spa, or Royal Leamington Spa as it is more formally known, is a striking town with stunning Regency architecture. Once voted the happiest place to live, it offers a variety of attractions including the Jephson Gardens, Royal Pump Rooms and lots of independently run boutique stores. Notably, virtually all the attractions in this picturesque town are free to visit!
Located mostly in the Midlands region of Derbyshire, the Peak District is one of the UK’s most visited national parks spanning over 555 square miles with ‘The Dark Peak’ – being moorland, and the ‘The White Peak’ – valleys and gorges made of limestone. An absolute must for those who want to be amongst nature and like to walk, climb, cave and camp!
Not to be confused with Stratford in London, Stratford-upon-Avon’s greatest claim to fame is as the home of William Shakespeare. The bard was born in here in 1564 and was buried in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church after his death here in 1616. Shakespeare’s birthplace museum is not just for theatre lovers, but also anyone interested in history and the story behind the man who wrote some of the best loved comedies and tragedies of all time! Catching a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is something that many around the world have gone to Stratford to do, with the calibre of theatre production being some of the best, you’re guaranteed a night of memorable entertainment. Set upon the River Avon, with parks boat trips, trails, boutique shops, cafés, bars and butterfly museum, Stratford is a bustling town full of life, theatre and drama, much like its most famous son!
Situated in East Midlands, Nottingham is a dynamic city, which plays host to the Guardian’s University of the year in 2019, and home of ‘English Sport’ in 2015. It is perhaps most famous for its role in the Robin Hood legend and historically associated ‘Sherwood Forest’, as well as it’s hilltop Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Once the centre of the world’s lace industry and home to the Galleries of Justice Museum, it is a city rich in tastes of both the past, present and future!
The Birmingham & Midland’s property market…
Currently still one of the most affordable housing markets in the UK, the Birmingham property market’s average property price is three times lower than that of London. The city’s future looks bright, with vast amounts of development and regeneration occurring.
Whether you’re looking to buy a home or you’re an investor, now is the time! Birmingham boasts the highest growth in property prices in the UK between 2016 and 2020 and since 2009 its average property value has increased by 45%. Between 2022 and 2025, market predictions forecast an increase of 14.2% – 17% in house price growth.
If you’re looking to invest, Birmingham property rental yields offer a strong return on investment, with the average yield being around 5.4% – 6%. With the combination of low property prices and robust yields, the city offers strong gross total returns. By 2030 it is predicted to be the UK’s second largest city by population, with 1.24 million people set to call Birmingham their home. Subsequently, it will experience a growing housing shortfall. An increasing population as well as a housing supply shortage will inevitably bring rising rental demand and property values; another reason the area is so appealing to investors!
To learn a little more, and for support relocating to the midlands or the UK in general, please do get in touch!