To some, London is the greatest city on Earth, but we’ve always known that title should belong to Birmingham. Thanks to rising house prices and thousands of Londoners looking for a fresh start, it sounds like news of Brum’s brilliance has finally reached the capital. The Second City has been hotly tipped to become the number-one destination for London leavers in 2024.
That’s according to The London Evening Standard anyway, who have put together a list of the best commuter hotspots, including Cheltenham and Maidenhead. Tens of thousands of Londoners left the capital in 2023, according to research from estate agent Hamptons, and this trend is only likely to continue this year. In this news that will leave many Brummies despairing, Birmingham is the pick of the bunch.
With High Speed 2 cutting travel between the two cities down to 49 minutes, there’s no denying the future appeal of the Second City. It’ll be far easier to reach Birmingham from London than many other, even closer parts of the country. (Ignoring the recent Birmingham City Council bankruptcy), investment is another key draw – with the Bullring, the expanding tram network and “the regeneration of the city centre’s Smithfield neighbourhood” all namechecked.
Of course, the big reason for moving to Birmingham (according to The Standard at least) is affordability. With an average house sale price of £290,000, “homes are literally half the price of London real estate.” It’s also weathering the cost of living crisis better than most, “with prices up 6.6 per cent in the last year, and almost 30 per cent over the past five years”, apparently.
Unsurprisingly, Digbeth is highlighted as the “hottest spot in town”, with a particular focus on its arts centres, warehouse parties and The Custard Factory – known for its independent shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. While the incoming film studio, BBC Birmingham headquarters and BOXPARK all highlight the positive future bound for Digbeth. It was good while it lasted, hey?
While Digbeth is better suited for first-time buyers and those looking for flats, The Standard suggests moving to Solihull for a family house or Harborne for a less suburban option. It also notes that “Britain’s poshest volume house builder”, Berkeley Group wants to redevelop the “grim, 1960s Ladywood Estate” with 7,000 new homes.
We can’t deny Birmingham is an incredible place to live – full of incredible restaurants, galleries, cafes, green spaces, shops, culture, people and oh so much more. Londoners do come to visit. Just maybe don’t all move to the Midlands at once?