What HS2 Means for Birmingham
Imagine the fastest running train in Europe connecting London and Birmingham, travelling up to speeds of 250mph, carrying more than 1,000 people per train and reaching its destination in less than an hour. By 2026, that will be High Speed 2 (HS2), a high-speed rail link between the capital and the second city.
HS2 is aiming to become the backbone of the UK rail network, a plan that has been initially split into three phases over a 15-year development span. By 2033, the UK government is hoping to have a route that begins with London and leads to the North, stopping at major cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.
Anticipation for the rail link is already having an effect, driving investment into cities along its planned route. Following the development schedule; by December 2026, Phase 1, which links London and the West Midlands, will be complete with the first services set to start running in that year.
So how will HS2 impact Birmingham property? The initial development of the line will encompass Curzon Street Station, which is being revitalised to serve as the main hub for HS2 in the city. This redevelopment alone will introduce a wealth of new jobs to the city. It’s also acting as a vote of confidence, a tangible example of the commitment from the Government to strengthen a thriving Birmingham, with excellent infrastructure and investment across the region.
As part of the Big City Plan, HS2 will join new and contemporary developments such as the Birmingham Smithfield Project, Paradise Birmingham and Arena Central, a collection of projects that represent an unprecedented level of inward investment.
Centro & Future Travel believe the boost in investment, as businesses flock to Birmingham, could even see 22,000 permanent jobs and a Gross Value Added (GVA) impact of £1.5bn by 2026, creating a stronger West Midlands economy.
Unsurprisingly, HS2 is also having a huge effect on Birmingham property prices. With the average Birmingham house price up by 8% since 2017 and only set to rise further, buyers are jumping at the opportunity to purchase in a location which is seen as up-and-coming, connected and affordable.
This is reinforced by increases all across the city, for example, the average house price in Ladywood, Birmingham has risen from £147,121 to £172,498 (17%) in a year.
At the same time, we’re also seeing a huge increase in tenant demand from renters looking to leave the capital, where the property is cheaper and increasingly available. With young professionals and new families seeking better rental opportunities, demand is hitting new highs as waves of tenants look to Birmingham.
HS2 represents a key development for London commuters, effectively turning Birmingham into a commuter hotspot overnight. Slashing the commute between the two cities to just 49 minutes, Birmingham will become accessible for a whole new working market. The City of London area (which is just over a square mile) alone has 300,000 workers that commute there for work.
It’s also caused many corporations to take note. With HSBC, PWC and Deutsche Bank both setting up headquarters in the second city, HSBC has moved 1,000 jobs from London to Birmingham, many of which are near Digbeth, in the proposed home of the HS2 hub in the city.
Thanks to these economic factors and developments, Birmingham has fast become a key UK destination for residential property investment, with a chronic undersupply of residential units not meeting the soaring demand. If you’re looking to invest in UK property, Birmingham is forecasting growth across the residential, commercial and hospitality sectors, all of which is helped by HS2.
It’s not a stretch to say that HS2 is already showing signs of kickstarting another ‘industrial revolution’ in Birmingham. The city has already solidified its position as the biggest business, professional and financial hub in the UK outside of London. By 2026, it will have direct access to the biggest city in Europe and no doubt be a hotspot for investors across the globe.
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