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Birmingham to grow by 'another Oxford' as it launches housing prospectus

City council outlines how it will reach target of 80,000 new homes as population is expected to soar by 150,000 over next 16 years

Birmingham has unveiled its largest-ever housing plan with the city expected to grow by the equivalent population of Oxford over the next 16 years.

The Birmingham Housing Prospectus outlines every single housing development site in the city in one document, to encourage investment with the city's population set to grow by 150,000 by 2031.

The plan, launched at property conference MIPIM in Cannes this week, aims to address a much-debated housing shortage in the city expected with 100,000 new jobs to be created across that time.

Birmingham City Council is targeting £9 billion of investment from property developers to meet the target of 80,000 new homes, having identified some 40 major brownfield sites.

The Post revealed last month that housebuilder Persimmon had acquired the 43-acre Selly Oak Hospital site in Birmingham, kick-starting a regeneration that would see 650 homes built.

Mark Evans, partner at Knight Frank, said while demand for homes in the city is expected to grow, he is confident investor demand will also rise.

He said: "The city's mix of regeneration, re-development and job creation, as well as the relatively lower entry price for property, means that its draw to homebuyers and investors will likely continue to grow in the coming years.

"Furthermore the investment in infrastructure means that the city has a stronger base moving forward which will hopefully ensure it is better placed in the future. This is all leading to greater interest from commercial occupiers in the city."

Experts say comparatively low property prices in the West Midlands are making the region attractive to homeowners.

The average house price in the region is about £200,000 well below the national average – although prices are expected to increase 17 per cent over the next four years as demand races ahead of supply.

After a major PwC report recently named Birmingham the sixth most attractive city in Europe for property investment – outstripping London in 10th place – Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said there was a strong story to tell.

He said: "We need to provide quality housing for people. Today we set out our ambitions to achieve that, but also a practical plan to make it happen.

"The prospectus says loud and clear to developers that Birmingham is open for business, and that we mean business. The city is unrecognisable from a decade ago thanks the unprecedented amount that has been invested in growth.

"Businesses are flocking in record numbers, legions of young professionals are arriving, and start-ups are thriving. That success has brought an exciting housing challenge. It is a challenge we are determined to meet."

Already there has been a rising tide of professionals heading to the city.

Some 5,500 Londoners in their thirties moved to Birmingham last year alone – the highest of any regional city.

Waheed Nazir, director of planning and regeneration at Birmingham City Council, said: "We want to use the Prospectus to encourage inward investment into Birmingham, so even if a developer or investor is coming from outside the city – whether that be from London, Glasgow or Abu Dhabi – they can find all of the key residential opportunities in one document, together with the essential contacts for each site."

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