Birmingham Mirrors London as it Attracts Foreign Investors

Birmingham's commercial property sector is mirroring that seen in London over the last few years, with investors from overseas proving to be a strong factor in the resurgence of the market...

Birmingham's commercial property sector is mirroring that seen in London over the last few years, with investors from overseas proving to be a strong factor in the resurgence of the market. According to a report looking into the centre of the second city, 30 per cent of all of the commercial and retail space there is owned by buyers who have come into the market from other nations. Foreign investors see the UK as something of a safe haven, and with the regional improvements seen throughout 2013, cities outside London give them the chance to get involved at a lower price.

The findings of the Who Owns Central Birmingham report by consultancy GVA showed that some 4.3 million sq ft of commercial space in the city centre is now owned by those from overseas. It shows that the city has a growing reputation with foreign investors looking to grab a slice of the 15 million sq ft of office and retail space that Birmingham has to offer.

It was also revealed that 17.5 per cent of all stock in Birmingham is part-owned by foreign investors, while 12.5 per cent is part-owned along with other buyers. It is the latter statistic that also serves to show that UK investors are returning to the market as well. More confident British buyers are now starting to capitalise on the improving economy to increase their stock. The news was not as good for Irish buyers, who have cut their ownership by as much as half as the eurozone crisis continues to affect them.

The biggest gains have come from the Far East, with more investors coming from this region to take advantage of the chance to invest in the safe haven of the UK. "While this currently accounts for around 0.9 per cent of total ownership, with a recovering market and the city's growing links with China, this could represent an important trend in further foreign investment," said Ian Stringer, senior regional director at GVA.

- Friday 14 March 2014

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