Press releases

Reaching new heights: Report shows highest levels of development in Birmingham in more than a decade

31 January 2017

  • 50 per cent increase in new office space under construction
  • Ten-fold increase in residential schemes reported
  • Over 1,000 additional student bed-spaces 

The latest Deloitte Crane Survey, released today, shows a record-level increase in construction across the city centre, as Birmingham reinforces its place as a global destination for business, talent and tourism. The report identifies 1.45m sq ft of new office space under construction in 2016, compared to 969,000 sq ft in the previous year. The surge signals the highest level of activity since the report was first published in 2002, and confirms rising developer confidence. 

“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,” comments Edwin Bray, partner at Deloitte Real Estate and author of the Crane Survey. “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 uptick in residential construction activity reaching levels not seen since 2005.

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, whilst we don’t record these in the survey - shows a sustainable positive outlookcomments Bray.

This follows Birmingham City Council’s Big City Plan, announced in 2010, which set out an ambition to ensure the building of over 5,000 new homes in the next 10 years.

The latest Crane Survey also identifies over a thousand student bed-spaces in development illustrating the continued expansion of the student housing sector in Birmingham with demand for modern, high-quality accommodation encouraging investors to commit to the city. Two schemes are located near Aston University and one in the Chinatown area.

One sector highlighted in the report is health and life sciences, referencing the new Cancer and Rare diseases centre in Birmingham Children’s Hospital (82,333 sq ft), the first of its kind in the UK, which completes in Q4 2017. This further strengthens the region’s reputation and offer in this sector, alongside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the recently opened £50m Birmingham Dental Hospital.

Bray concludes,

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.


Notes to editors

About the Birmingham Crane Survey
This report measures the volume of development taking place across central Birmingham and its impact. Property types include office, retail, leisure, residential, student accommodation, education and hotels. The report focuses on Birmingham, covering the central office markets: city core, city centre, Digbeth, Jewellery Quarter and Edgbaston and includes insight from developers building new schemes or undertaking significant refurbishment of the following:

Size minimum:
Office -10,000 sq ft
Retail – 10,000 sq ft
Residential – 25 units
Education, leisure and hotel schemes – significant scheme for inclusion.

The report is carried out by Deloitte’s in-house real estate team in Birmingham who have monitored office construction across the city. Deloitte’s field research is then verified with direct industry links and in-house property experts. The data capture period was January to December 2016 and Deloitte has Birmingham crane survey data from 2002.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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