While there are always going to be peaks and troughs in the property market – influenced by the bigger economic and political picture – one thing is always guaranteed to have an impact and that’s improvements to public transport.
We’ve reached the ‘decade to go’ milestone for HS2 – a second major high-speed rail line linking North to South – and the anticipation is already affecting the property market along its route. This new line will drastically reduce the travelling time to London. Phase one will link the capital and Birmingham, with phase two seeing the northern branch extend to Manchester, Leeds and beyond.
The appeal is in the figures, with the journey time from Birmingham to London set to skim under the magic one hour journey time – with an anticipated future commute of 45-50 minutes. Currently, the journey can take between 90 minutes and two hours by rail, and even longer by car.
It is hoped the first trains between Birmingham and London will run in 2026 – with ten years for property investors, owner-occupiers and tenants to position themselves and take into account property price appreciation that looks set to take an upward trajectory from now on in.
So how will HS2 affect the relocation market and HR professionals looking to house tenants in Birmingham? As England’s second city, Birmingham is already a relocation hotspot but the future presents opportunities for London-based workers to live in the West Midlands and make a daily commute akin in time to living in the Home Counties.
While an uplift in rental values in the lead up to HS2’s opening is almost a given, we expect Birmingham to retain rental affordability when compared with London – a great benefit for those working to strict budgets.
As for supply, we expect a decade of preparation as the city gears up to accommodate an influx of London-bound commuters. Birmingham will become develop a microclimate for property investors in a buy-to-let market that is smarting after the Chancellor’s stamp duty reform and changes to mortgage interest offsetting. A surge in serviced apartments in Birmingham can’t be ruled out either and we expect many of the city centre’s purpose-built and conversion flats to change from owner-occupier status to rental as people look to take advantage of the HS2 opportunity.
The relocation market will seriously consider Birmingham as a destination for professionals working in London as well as the Midlands thanks to the super-fast rail line. Klippa Relocation is already active in Birmingham and has the experience and lettings links to secure rental accommodation for professionals now and in the future.