Top tips for buying a property in Birmingham city centre
An estate agents guide to buying a property in the city centre.
Over the past decade, Birmingham city centre has undergone a huge transformation that has driven significant growth and investment into the city.
Living in the city centre has never been more appealing as its shopping, food and nightlife continue to grow and diversify.
If you’re thinking of buying a property in Birmingham city centre, then this is the guide for you.
We asked an independent, sales and letting agent, Philip Jackson, founder of Maguire Jackson who led the way in Birmingham city centre living for his top tips when buying.
Choose your area wisely
Birmingham city centre has many affluent and emerging areas including the Jewellery Quarter, the Convention Quarter and Digbeth.
But as with any upcoming area, property prices are rising fast.
The Jewellery Quarter has undergone significant improvement over the past decade with historic buildings being transformed into plush apartments, modern business and trendy restaurants and stylish bars.
Property website Zoopla has even named the area as one of the top ‘hipster hotspots’ in the UK.
Although the Digbeth area is less expensive, it is quickly improving following the announcement of the £500 million plan to regenerate a 14-hectare site – known as Birmingham Smithfield the being fruit and veg market site and nearby soon to be home to the new HS2 station site on Curzon street.
Birmingham’s Convention Quarter is the city’s media hub where the BBC, ITV and Heart FM are based.
Thanks to both its close links to the Paradise Circus redevelopment and to Brindleyplace, the ICC and the NIA - this area is Birmingham’s equivalent to London’s West End.
It’s landscape is evolving and prices with it – climbing ever upwards.
Philip says: “ For me, the Jewellery Quarter has it all. The unique area dates back more than 250 years and, being a conservation area, it has a culture and personality all of its own.
"It has that cosy ‘village-feel’ to it as developers are limited to building a maximum of four storeys.
Properties are of a human scale and often retain their original personality.”
Plan for the future
City centre areas such as the Jewellery Quarter are drawing older residents back to live here and they’re contributing to building quite close-knit communities.
Larger apartments are growing in popularity reflecting what buyers want – more accommodation in an uber-convenient location – ‘uber’ literally and metaphorically.
Philip says: “ People who work in the city centre are increasingly looking to put down roots there because you have a smorgasbord of restaurants, shopping and entertainment right on your door step. But it’s not for everyone.
“If you seek a more peaceful vibe, I’d recommend you consider the suburb especially for those looking to raise a family and wanting a garden. They should consider places like Harborne, Bearwood and Edgbaston. Each have good access to the city centre with good bus, train and tram links.”
Will your property hold its value?
The key to this is location, in the city centre, there has always been a shortage of larger properties and it’s only over the last decade that developers have started to build bigger.
Philip adds: “Properties which include a special, quirky feature - such as a balcony, exposed brick walls and a higher than average ceiling- are always sought-after.
"We found that even during the recession in 2008, properties sold quickly if they had something a little different. And this is always key when the market is slowing and buyers have more choice.”
Should I buy off-plan?
It can feel like a risk to buy a property off-plan as you often cannot view the property before the development is complete. Philip’s advice is to visit projects that have recently been completed by the same developer to judge their finish and finesse.
Philip adds: “You should certainly consider buying off plan. There are some very good developers in the city and Birmingham is telling a great story. People are earning more and moving back into the city and developers are capitalising on this by building properties in good locations. So yes, buy off-plan but choose a good developer. Should I be buying through high street estate agents or online?
Philip says; “Using a national, online estate agent may slash old-school estate agents’ expensive commissions but bypasses a critical step – a local and accurate valuation.
We know of a well-known, online, national estate agency who has recently over-valued a property by £50,000 and that’s clearly because they don’t know the area.
“So, the answer to the question is, by all means look at both, however the high-street agents will be offering a property more in line with their real value.
“In a UK first, Maguire Jackson has launched an online residential sales service designed for Birmingham homeowners to combine the cost advantages of national online agents with the benefits of in-depth local market knowledge and offices.”
- Although the Digbeth area is less expensive, it is quickly improving following the announcement of the £500 million plan to regenerate a 14-hectare site – known as Birmingham Smithfield.