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6 reasons Birmingham is recapturing its crown as Britain's second city

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In recent years, the development of Britain’s northern powerhouses, Liverpool and Manchester, has seen Birmingham’s status as the second city come under threat from its noisy neighbours. However, a new government-funded 20 year plan, and an influx of relocating workers, has seen Birmingham create plenty of noise itself.

Here are 6 reasons why Birmingham looks set to return to the (almost) top of the tree. 

 

1.    Government investment: 

The nation's best and most beautiful cities have long been vying for government investment, but now is Birmingham’s time. The government has committed over £370M to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise partnership between now and 2021. This includes a promise to deliver over 30,000 new homes, and send 150,000 school pupils to ‘Outstanding’ schools.

 

 2.    Foreign investment

Perhaps the biggest indicator of Birmingham’s resurgence is the sheer amount of foreign investment the area is attracting. 'Boomingham' - so named by Denise Li, president of wealth management firm GlobalChina - is where the future lies. They alone plan to invest £50M in the city in 2015, and hope to triple that in 2016. In additition to China, 22% of investment came from US companies looking to gain a piece of the action.

 

 3.    Transport

No trip to Birmingham these days would be complete without getting caught up in Grand Central. Whether it's shopping in the near-60 stores and restaurants, or starting a journey to any corner of the country, Birmingham provides it all. Add to that the proposed HS2 plan, which would mean a trip to London in less than 49 minutes, and the redevelopment of the formerly beautiful Curzon Street station.

 

4.    Following the crowd 

In the words of Moneyweek.com, “Forget London; Birmingham is the place for business, workers and house-buyers.” In fact, as far back as 2013, Brum proved to be the favoured destination of Londoners in their 30’s who wanted to flee the high prices of the capital. It's not just employees moving to the Midlands, however; many digital start-ups have also decided to relocate to Birmingham, with companies such as ASOS and mobile firm Droplet leading the way. Returning to the idea of foreign investment, the city attracted 9% more overseas-funded projects than anywhere else in 2015. This included KPMG, Amazon and Midlands staple Jaguar Land Rover.

 

 5.    House prices 

Yet another key draw to the area is the value for money which local housing provides. The average house price in 2014 was £133,000, which undercut the national average by £52,000 and is less than a third of a typical London house. With beautiful leafy suburbs such as Kings Norton, Kings Heath and Moseley fast attracting house buyers, is it any wonder Birmingham is on the rise?

 

 6.    What's already here

It’s easy to focus on the future, but Birmingham has a plethora of attractions already established. With world class shopping at the Bullring, elite sporting arenas such as Edgbaston and Villa Park, and superb entertainment at Symphony Hall and the Barclaycard Arena, it's pretty evident that Birmingham has far more to offer than simply 'more canals than Venice'.

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