Whilst it might not be viewed as the most glamorous part of the country, this heartland of the industrial revolution is still thriving and is a viable alternative for anyone who doesn’t fancy the hustle, bustle, and inflated property market of London.
The Midlands includes, within its broad boundary, towns steeped in industrial heritage, picturesque tourist trails and some of the most fascinating historical monuments in the entire country. All of this makes it an incredibly attractive place to live and work while remaining relatively central for wider travel and commuting.
There’s an energy to the area’s major cities and smaller satellite towns. With several FTSE 100 companies like Severn Trent and engineering giant IMI having their headquarters in the region and even the likes of Boots and Speedo calling the Midlands home, now is the ideal time to think about resettling in the Midlands.
Although it covers a huge geographical area which includes several counties including Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, many towns and cities in the Midlands share similar characteristics and industries. We’ve selected three towns and cities, all of which offer something unique to Service-leavers.
Birmingham is one of the UK’s largest cities and is widely considered the nation’s ‘Second City’ after London and looks set to benefit from the new High Speed 2 railway network, making it faster than ever for people to access the Midlands.
As such, there are ample opportunities in the service industry and the city has undergone massive regeneration over the last couple of decades, making it a thriving hub, specialising in retail and hospitality; perfect for anyone thinking of getting into management or even running their own franchise.
Supporting this booming industry are exhibition spaces, National Exhibition Centre, International Convention Centre and National Indoor Arena which bring in around 40% of the UK’s annual conference traffic, meaning that there is always a roaring passing trade for shops and other businesses.
Birmingham has carved out its own niche in the medical sector. The city boasts the state-of-the-art facilities of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (home of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine) and also a thriving biomedical industry with the Birmingham Research Park, a joint venture between Birmingham University and Birmingham City Council as well as the futuristic Biohub.
Of course, Birmingham also has a number of more traditional manufacturing industries too. The sprawling Jaguar Land Rover site at Castle Bromwich is the company’s primary assembly site and Cadbury still make their chocolate at Bournville. In fact, if you’re looking for a sweeter career, Bournville is home to Mondelez’s Global Centre of Excellence for Chocolate research and development. Tasty.
The majority of sales in Birmingham during the last year were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £140,099. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £170,614, with flats fetching £122,930. Overall prices in Birmingham over the last year were 4% up on the previous year and 7% up on the 2007 level of £152,808.
House price data from: rightmove.co.uk
Nottingham is home to some of the largest companies in the UK who see its central location as a perfect base for their operations. Some surprising organisations call the city home from Chinook Sciences to E.On UK, Alliance Boots and Speedo. However, there are a number of other exciting opportunities in the city of Robin Hood and European Cup winning Nottingham Forest.
Nottingham was ranked in the top 10 UK cities for job growth in both the public and private sectors last year and this was thanks in no small part to the huge public sector employment within the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs based in the city. Service-leavers looking to join the public sector might aim to retrain as tax inspectors or in fulfilling a number of other vital roles within HMRC.
Nottingham is also the only city in the UK to operate its own not-for-profit energy company. Robin Hood Energy has become a large employer in its own right thanks to the popularity of their low cost energy tariffs. Nottingham City Council announced in 2010 that their target sectors for growth included low-carbon technologies, digital media, life sciences, and financial and business services, providing incentives to organisations looking to invest in the city and meaning that there are now a wide variety of sectors to choose from for those looking to relocate.
Last year most property sales in Nottingham involved semi-detached properties which sold for on average £148,663. Detached properties sold for an average price of £251,686, while terraced properties fetched £112,183. During the last year, prices in Nottingham were 4% up on the previous year and 10% up on 2007 when the average price was £149,429.
Renowned as a beacon of peace throughout the world for its revival after being flattened during the Second World War, Coventry has seen regeneration enough to give most other cities in the Midlands a run for their money.
Coventry is renowned for its contribution to the automotive industry in the UK and the London Taxi Company still produces all of the famous black ‘Hackney’ cabs which are so ubiquitous on the streets of the Capital. The company recently invested £50 million to develop a new type of eco-friendly cabs.
It’s not just the traditional motor industry which is prevalent in Coventry either. RDM Group have recently won an award for their pioneering driverless cars and automotive supply chain manufacturer Brose recently opened the first part of its £35 million factory expansion in the city, bringing hundreds of jobs to the sector and a further economic boost for the region.
Last year most property sales in Coventry involved terraced properties which sold for on average £135,548. Semi-detached properties sold for an average price of £179,111, while detached properties fetched £287,950.
During the last year, sold prices in Coventry were 5% up on the previous year and 11% up on 2007 when the average house price was £147,461.