Living and working guide - Birmingham

Hu Kabir Other


Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK and, having undergone a dramatic transformation over the last decade, is now a city that oozes style, culture and charm, and has established itself as a real hub for business, entertainment and the arts. The city is widely acknowledged to be one of the best places to do business in the UK.

Business in the local area
Most of the national accountancy firms are still based in the city centre in and around Colmore Row and Victoria Square.

This market has started to pick up as well with all the Big 4 keen to invest more resources in their Birmingham practices with the proposed construction of the high speed rail link this regions growth is likely to accelerate.

Birmingham offers an excellent array of leisure activities, catering for all tastes and interests ranging from the galleries of the Birmingham Museum and the Barber Institute to the bars and canalside eateries of Brindley place. For live entertainment there is no end of choice of concerts, with the world class Symphony Hall, Carling Academy, the new O2 Academy and regular shows and concerts at the LG Arena (NEC). For sports fans, Birmingham is home to two Premiership football teams - City and Villa, and a number of professional Rugby Union sides. These include Moseley RFC.

Edgbaston is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club and their ground regularly hosts international games. The NIA also hosts many European athletics meetings, as does the Alexander Staduium.

The rejuvenation of the city centre with the figurehead £500 million Bullring development has been complimented by the redevelopment of the iconic Rotunda in to high spec residential apartments. This, in addition to the elegant Victorian arcades and the upmarket shopping and bars on offer in the Mailbox, has confirmed Birmingham’s reputation as the regional shopping capital.

The city has a vibrant nightlife and offers gastronomic delights form every corner of the globe. The city centre is home to a range of restaurants catering for all budgets from the Michelin starred through to the more traditional chains you would expect in a major city. There are also a huge range of bars and clubs both in the centre and the outlying areas that offer great variety; Brindley Place and the Arcadian are two such examples.

Residential areas

City living
This is a recent but popular trend in Birmingham. Many people are choosing to live within walking distance of the city centre and there is now plenty of good quality choice which continues this trend.

Brindley Place/Canal side
There are plenty of new and converted flats to choose from in this area – it is a particularly popular choice for young professionals as it is only a 15 minute walk into the city centre. There is also an excellent selection of restaurant, bars and other facilities.

Jewellery Quarter/St Paul’s Square
Another popular choice for people choosing city living,
this area has recently seen a huge investment in regeneration. It takes about 15 minutes to walk into the city centre from these areas and there are a large number of town houses, loft conversions and new builds to choose from. Prices in these areas are at the top end of the Birmingham market, with a 2 bedroom apartment comfortably in the £250,000+ range.

Outskirts of Birmingham
There are some trendy cosmopolitan areas that are popular with many who do not choose the city living lifestyle but want to be close enough to the city to enjoy its many other benefits. Harborne, Edgbaston, Bearwood and Moseley are areas particularly attractive to young professionals and families. In these areas, you will find terraced houses and Georgian Buildings, and there is a good selection of restaurants, bars and other facilities. A good transportation network makes the city easily accessible. Prices in these areas for a decent terrace house will start at £170,000 and a four bedroom family house will start at £260,000.

Other areas
If you want to live slightly further out of Birmingham, popular choices for families and couples are Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Bromsgrove and Stourbridge. There are good facilities in these areas, including shopping, restaurants and schools, and all have train stations linking into one of the three stations in Birmingham. Most journeys take approximately 30 minutes, making the city and legal district very accessible.

Country living
Many people often choose to live out of Birmingham, opting for the traditionally more beautiful countryside of Worcestershire, Warwickshire or Shropshire, or historic towns such as Stratford and Leamington Spa.

Commuting into Birmingham via car can be a challenge as the M6, M5 and M42 tend to get very congested at peak times. However, you will find a train station in most of these areas, so most commuters will use this link into Birmingham city centre where it is only a short walk to the office.

House prices
In December 2010 the average selling price on a detached house in Birmingham was £320,000; a semi-detached property £164,000; terrace £128,000 and City centre flat £120,000.

For more information visit primelocation.com

Birmingham offers a good range of schools both within the state and private sector. Independent schools include Blue Coats School in Harbourne and King Edward School in Edgbaston.
For more information visit ofsted.gov.uk/reports

The majority of hotels are 3*/4* and it is advisable to book in advance. Centrally located hotels include: