Birmingham ranked 5th most attractive city for occupiers in Europe

James Cubitt, Head of Colliers International’s Birmingham office

Birmingham is amongst the top five most attractive cities for occupiers in Europe, according to Colliers International’s latest Cities of Influence report, which was released at MIPIM this week.

The city ranked fifth overall out of the 50 cities analysed across Europe, whilst being placed first in Colliers’ rankings of mid-sized cities (those of the 50 cities with a population of between two and five million).

Where Birmingham scored most favourably was in the category for ‘Fresh Talent’, where a strong talent pool, mainly because of the future talent base offered by its top tier universities, saw the city placed second only to London out of the 50 cities analysed, and first when looking at mid-sized cities alone. Other key socio-economic factors in which Birmingham impressed included workforce catchment, future employment capacity, and employer costs.

James Cubitt, Head of Colliers International’s Birmingham office, said: “Birmingham has a positive balance of occupier attributes, and is going through some big positive changes. It benefits from an expansive and evolving talent pool, supported by a strong university base. This has attracted increasing levels of corporate foreign direct investment (FDI), with the greater Birmingham area receiving the highest level of FDI in the UK in 2017, to the benefit of jobs growth in advanced manufacturing, IT and digital media.

“This is serving to attract greater levels of real estate investment, placing it 14th overall as a European investment destination in 2017”

The Cities of Influence report reviews and ranks cities based on their occupier attractiveness, availability of talent, and quality of life factors alongside economic output and productivity, has ranked London as the most attractive city in Europe for a second year running, with Paris, Madrid, Moscow and Birmingham making up the rest of the top five. This year’s new extended version of the report looks at 50 major European economic hubs – building on the twenty cities covered in the inaugural report – providing a broad geographic coverage of European markets that are of global, regional and national importance.

Peter Leyburn, EMEA Director of Client Services at Colliers International, adds: “Office occupier strength is the engine room for a city economy and as a driver of all other forms of real estate demand: be it retail (and thus logistics), hotels, leisure and residential. Occupational strength will also help drive rental growth and longer-term this is the most important driver of capital value – especially in an environment where yields do not look capable of compressing any further in the vast majority of markets. So this analysis should be a good marker for where investment capital should go.”

“Urban transformations and new infrastructure are also very strong drivers of investment growth. Given we are now approaching the peak of the investment cycle in terms of pricing, and thus volumes, the logical evolution of the cycle is to see a redistribution of capital into cities, illustrating a strong basis for occupier growth alongside those with new key infrastructure changes,” says Richard Divall, Head of Cross Border Capital Markets at Colliers International.