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Birmingham enjoying record levels of construction

Newly published report shows highest levels of development in Birmingham in more than a decade

Birmingham is enjoying the highest level of development for 15 years, according to a new annual report.

The 2017 Crane Survey measures the volume of development taking place across central Birmingham and its impact and says the city is currently seeing the most construction work since its publication started in 2002.

Property types factored into the research include office, retail, leisure, residential, student accommodation, education and hotels and the report covers the main city centre area alongside Digbeth, Jewellery Quarter and Edgbaston.

To be considered, offices and retail must be a minimum of 10,000 sq ft and residential developments must have at least 25 units.

Education, leisure and hotel schemes must be considered significant by the authors to be included.

There was 1.45 million sq ft of new office space under construction in 2016, compared to 969,000 sq ft in the previous year, while there has been a ten-fold increase in residential schemes and more than 1,000 student bed spaces in the pipeline.

Major schemes include HSBC UK's new head office at Arena Central in Broad Street, the redevelopment of the former Silver Blades ice rink near the Bullring and more than 500 student bedrooms in the Gun Quarter.

Edwin Bray, partner at Deloitte Real Estate in Birmingham and author of the Crane Survey, said: "Improvements in transport links and major infrastructure works have opened up new development opportunities in areas that would have been considered peripheral just a few years ago.

"This really is a new era for the city as it grows and matures, expanding both upwards and outwards.

"Developer confidence is reinforced by the growth in financial services businesses choosing to headquarter here, activity stimulated by HS2 and a previous lack of grade A supply available for immediate office occupation."

Similar trends are also seen across other sectors covered within the report, with an uplift in residential construction activity reaching levels not seen since 2005.

Mr Bray added: "The strong and sustained residential demand is seen in both the rental and owner occupier markets, with new schemes totalling 2,331 units spread across the city centre, Jewellery Quarter, Digbeth and Edgbaston.

"Critically, there remain further sites across the city in demolition which, while we don't record these in the survey, shows a sustainable positive outlook."

The latest Crane Survey also identifies more than 1,000 student bed-spaces in development, illustrating the continued expansion of the student housing sector in Birmingham.

One sector highlighted in the report is health and life sciences, referencing the new cancer and rare diseases centre in Birmingham Children's Hospital, the first of its kind in the UK.

Mr Bray said: "Our report underlines the fact that all sectors are active, supported by a genuine demand and a demonstrable pipeline for future opportunities.

"The city scores well on logistics, culture and heritage, connectivity, diversity, education and value for money - and its appeal continues to grow and spread across Europe and the world."

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