PHILIP’S BLOG 22/09/2015

liberty place widescreen


The demand for larger well designed City Centre flats & houses has continued unabated through the summer. The demand has come from both owner occupiers plus an increasing number of investors looking to providing stock for the maturing audience of experienced lawyers, bankers & other professionals now being sought by top City firms who are out looking for accommodation. The tenants themselves increasingly reflect the region not just the City Centre, with tenants choosing to live here and reverse commute to their jobs or studies in nearby Towns & indeed Cities. This demand undoubtedly reflects Birmingham’s increasing pull on individuals & couples looking for culture plus a comfortable urban lifestyle.

The sales success this year of schemes such as Concord House, The Rifle Maker & Elizabeth Place is encouraging developers to acknowledge that the City Centre is much more than just a home for Buy to Lets searching for the best income yield and to re-look at their mix of apartment & house sizes. The combination of spacious apartments plus houses likely to be coming forward over the next twelve–twenty months will undoubtedly become homes for a generation who have enough of the suburbs or indeed do not want to move out. This I feel is very encouraging for the future of the City Centre as a vibrant mixed community which can only encourage a wider diversity of services ,which in turn helps everyone.

Other news.. Whilst we have spoken to a mix of London Funds talking of investing in residential here in the City Centre for several years ,the firm commitment of a PRS Fund, Blue Harbour who have announced that they are bringing forward 350 flats on the Great Charles Street car park site is the start I sense of a quiet revolution in the Lettings industry which private investors will need to acknowledge. This one fund I sense will be the start of several similar investment funds committing to Birmingham. These highly professional landlords are geared to providing long term steady returns to their investors & to retaining their tenants long term. This might mean they might provide services which individual landlords holding nearby Buy to Let flats might find hard to compete with. This is likely to include cool rooms designed into the Porters office so on line grocery deliveries can happen during the day when the tenants are at work, swimming pools, twenty four hour porters and discount cards for the residents for nearby services. For mainstream landlords we therefore encourage them to keep a check of their interiors & ensure the bathrooms plus kitchen do not become too dated. Whilst this minute likely tenants haven’t a lot of choice when looking this will undoubtedly will change as these new blocks come forward. For those looking to buy please ensure the location is somewhere that you too would be happy to live!

For landlords we are seeing an increased demand for our managed services & we in turn recommend this to new landlords located outside of the City or those leading lifestyles which cannot easily cope with the demands of tenants when items break or breakdown. Our 24 hour service to tenants is a reassurance often sought. Remember It is the minutia of details which cause the most stress if not properly addressed, be it drippy taps or washing machines that don’t work!

Finally as an agency according to the Rightmove statistics we are increasingly commanding a larger market share and are pleased to be recognised being nominated for 2015 The Negotiator Awards which will be announced late this autumn. We feature in both the West Midlands Category but also the Small Agency Category. Watch this space!