News November 3, 2022

Is there a skill to successfully buying off plan apartments in Birmingham?

Almost daily there seems to be an announcement in the press, & associated web suppliers of local news, about planning permission being given granted for more apartments in the City Centre. We can all see the increasing numbers of site cranes as some of these consents are following through to becoming real buildings, and future homes for City dwellers. 

From the moment of the announcement of permission to the delivery of the individual apartment key can sometimes be one to four or more years depending upon the scheme size. For many investors this period is often viewed as time of opportunity. This is when they might be able to secure an apartment at today’s price, for a small deposit, with delivery in months or perhaps years in the future. The area around the proposed development might radically change with underlying values lifting during the period of construction. 

I recently met a local developer who advised that he had now sold over one third of his City Centre development, being over one hundred apartments, which doesn’t complete until summer 2020. The attraction for the developer by selling so early is the certainty of these secured future sales. This invariably makes the construction finance costs less expensive as the risk is reduced! Unlike building houses apartments invariably all complete at the same time so the developers financing is critical. 

Is there a skill to buying these or does everyone win every time? Whether you are buying a future home from plan or an investment property I do recommend you do some research before you commit; Firstly, has the developer built similar projects before? Have you see them? Have you seen how previous sites have matured? Do they still look good? 

Secondly, apart from the obvious location question, is the aspect of the proposed building. Is there a best aspect, a side that that has the better outlook? Do jump on Google Earth & look at the likely views from the upper floors. This is something you often cannot grasp from standing outside the site. The other question in the same vein is the aspect. How much is facing South & West because some future buyers from you are likely to be insistent about the better light, & particularly afternoon light into reception rooms, balconies & terraces. 

Thirdly you focus on the apartment layout & the ideal floor. Do also ask about the ceiling height because particularly in the City room heights are another luxury. 

Finally, location is always important when buying property. When buying off plan, especially when it’s a year or more in the future, you need to factor in the changes that are likely to happen in the meanwhile. Are there infrastructure projects nearby which will improve the location? For instance the Tram will open-up the connectivity of some parts of Digbeth into the City Core from 2022. Are you also aware of other nearby developments on route through planning which will help regenerate the location. This is especially the case if the current location feels as if its on the City Fringe. 

The key to the best future rewards is to try & pick the best apartment in your price range in the strongest location. Areas change, but some much faster than others. Please do ask our team if you have any questions 

Happy hunting!


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