Property

TOP CAPITAL GAINS

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In a number of ways, London (and many other parts of the UK) is bracing itself for the rude awakening that could well be Brexit. It’s exhausting to talk about, bordering on boring — particularly considering negotiations to exit the European Union are nowhere near finished. However, as far as Birmingham goes, things couldn’t be better. As the finance Brexodus threatens the capital, the UK’s second city sits poised to reap the so-called benefits. That’s where The Axium comes in.  


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Trending Up

Given the high cost of operating in London, Brum, as locals lovingly call it, has, over the course of the past three years or so, become the UK’s strongest, most appealing property destination, ahead of the Northern Powerhouse anchored by Manchester and savvy alternatives like Edinburgh; Knight Frank estimates capital appreciation in Birmingham at 24% and rental growth at 20% through to 2021. But a great deal of that growth is rooted in a strong economy based on finance, insurance, real estate and business services (FIREBs), many of which are planning to seek greener pastures in Europe. That’s not necessarily a disadvantage for Birmingham.


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“I agree, a lot of large FIREBs are questioning whether a presence in London, and the costs associated, is justified, especially with the risks associated with the on-going Brexit negotiations,” begins Top Capital Group’s International Sales & Marketing Director, Florian Loloum. “To offset the risks presented to their international and cross-border revenue streams, a lot of these FIREBs have to build or strengthen a strong pipeline of revenues in the domestic market.” The city’s strong economic fundamentals, robust infrastructure spending, and close proximity to London — 50 minutes once HS2 is complete — make it the natural choice for MNCs like Deutsche Bank, KPMG and HSBC (its retail banking headquarters), with some branches of the Bank of England possibly not far behind. Not only is Brum the second largest city in the UK, it’s “Also the largest and youngest professional labour market outside of London. Approximately 40% of Birmingham’s population is under the age of 25, many of whom are highly educated and from the city’s five universities, which makes the city an attractive talent pool for businesses and one of the key reasons why major corporations are relocating there. We are confident Birmingham has a brilliant future ahead,” says Loloum. 


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The ‘we’ Loloum refers to is Hong Kong-based Top Capital Group, whose third project in Birmingham, following The Greenand a 79-unit, low-rise luxury apartment building, The Franklin, is the forthcoming The Axium. The developer is also at work on its fourth project, Arden Gate with 225 apartments and duplexes right in the city centre. 


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True to Life

The Axium comprises of 304 high-end, one- and two-bedroom flats downtown, something Birmingham’s burgeoning CBD is lacking. Road and rail improvements and new premium office developments have led to increased demand from professionals and new residents, a demand that is going to continue for the foreseeable future. TCG sees it as a smart choice for labour seeking a better quality of life as well as investors seeking strong returns. The property’s location is minutes from major retail precincts, the new Brindleyplace business district, and the market’s ongoing supply imbalance make a near-perfect investment cocktail. And it’s a cocktail ideal for individual investors. To contrast, London is for asset growth and leveraging, and not really a place for starting a portfolio. Manchester could be flirting with oversupply and stagnating yields despite the market’s health overall. But Birmingham is at the start of its cycle. “New build units in Birmingham are still 60% cheaper than those in London and supply is still low compared to Manchester as the city is catching up with the demand,” argues Loloum. “This rationale is not foreign to property investors.” 

And while TCG calls Hong Kong home, and upwards of 60% of investors so far have come from Asia, The Axium isn’t going to be built exclusively with Asian investors in mind. “Our focus is to serve owner-occupiers and investors alike with the highest standards of product and services,” stresses Loloum. “The current demand trends show a driver toward higher quality and projects being located in prime city centre locations need to lead the pack.” Ranging in size from approximately 480 to 860 square feet, The Axium’s flats are outfitted with white oak, Bosch appliances, Porcelanosa cabinetry, and floor-to-ceiling windows exploiting natural light. Located on Windmill Street in the city’s core, the address is a six-minute walk from Grand Central and New Street Station. 


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Veteran investors and those taking advantage of Birmingham’s accessibility to begin portfolios will also be treated to after-service designed to make purchase as painless as possible. “We have also developed a suite of services for our buyers that is uniquely suited for investors. This encompasses an assured rental yield at 6% over 12 months, bespoke furniture packs by Indigo Living, and the provision of a recommended panel of third-party service providers including vetted solicitors, mortgage brokers, tax advisors, insurance brokers, accounting firms, and even relocation, removals and maintenance companies.” finishes Loloum.

One-bedroom apartments at The Axium start at £174,950 (approximately HK$1.9 million), and two-bedroom apartments at £233,950 (HK$2.5 million). The Axium is scheduled for completion in Q4 of 2019.