Birmingham Shows Strongest Levels of Post-Pandemic Recovery
As we enter a national period of post-pandemic recovery, the race is on as city centre economies begin to bounce back. Nightlife venues have opened their doors, drawing in students and young professionals. Tenant demand is returning to city centres once again. Some cities, however, are recovering faster than others. Thanks to various regeneration projects and businesses reopening their offices, Birmingham seems to be showing the strongest post-pandemic recovery.
Workers Returning to Offices
Birmingham is showing exceptional post-pandemic recovery, in particular, in its office take-up performance. According to data from the Birmingham Office Market Forum, total office take-up reached 242,901 square feet. This is the highest performance since the first quarter of 2020. Employment opportunities are growing in the city centre. The UK’s ‘Second City’ offers a well-connected, more affordable alternative to London.
BT recently opened its regional hub in a staggering 283,000 square foot office space deal. In the heart of Birmingham’s business district, the 17-storey development will accommodate over 3,500 staff. Despite many of us working from home over the last year, there is an emphasis on a hybrid working approach. Thus, BT is encouraging “smart working” where teams will choose where they wish to work from. Many firms are following in these footsteps. There is believed to be a future in office working, despite many believing it is a thing of the past. Particularly in city centre office space, hybrid working will be essential in office uptake.
Improved Transport Links
Transport links in Birmingham will also support this high office uptake. In an effort to tackle congestion and pollution, the city is undergoing a transformation that will improve connectivity. The city will be split into seven key “cells”: the city centre core, Jewellery Quarter, Knowledge Quarter, Eastside, Southside, Westside, and Convention Centre. To travel between these areas, motorists will have to use a ring road. This shift in infrastructure is to encourage people to use other modes of transport. This includes a push for pedestrian access, revamped cycle lanes, and Voi e-scooters.
A Magnet for Young Professionals
Recently, Birmingham ranked as the eighth-best city for work-life balance in the UK. The city also scored highly in attracting a growing number of young professionals. This comes as no surprise. A study by Shawbrook Bank showed that on average, employees spent 32.7 hours a week working. This is 1.1 hours below the national average and the third-lowest in the country. Not only this, but commuting times are also favourably low at just 28.85 minutes. This will reduce even further with infrastructure regeneration coming to fruition.
Therefore, Birmingham is without a doubt a fantastic place to live and work. Compared to its southern equivalents, house prices in the second city are affordable. This is a crucial factor to consider for first-time buyers and tenants looking for a place to live. Alongside the ongoing regeneration projects and businesses moving to the area, the city is a magnet for young professionals. Young professionals play a crucial role in strengthening the economy as they are more likely to utilise city centre amenities.
The Commonwealth Games will be a huge catalyst for post-pandemic recovery in Birmingham. The event will create up to 30,000 jobs for the city, as well as volunteer roles. Public investment totalling £700m is being spread across the entire city. From the renovation of Alexander Stadium to the construction of 5,000 new houses. A large proportion of the investment is being spent on the cultural sector. The cultural sector was hit the hardest when strict social distancing measures were in place. Therefore, this investment will play a huge part in the speed of post-pandemic recovery in Birmingham.
Birmingham’s recovery post-pandemic has been one to marvel at. Many city centres are struggling to rebuild. Anyone who has recently walked through Canary Wharf or The West End in London will be aware of how sparse it has become. The lack of activity forced many retailers and coffee shops to close their doors. Once, these areas were bustling with professionals. Now, these same professionals have opted to work from home or flee the capital in search of more space. Thankfully for Birmingham, the city remains the top destination to absorb any London leavers.
Compared to many other UK cities, Birmingham is showing promising signs of returning to post-pandemic levels of activity in the city centre. Particularly with the 2022 Commonwealth Games just around the corner, The speed of post-pandemic recovery in Birmingham makes it a fantastic option for property investors to take advantage of.
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