Tuscan Capital has seen strong growth across the Midlands

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Birmingham UK

Tuscan is committed to supporting investors in the Midlands and is always open for business; there’s more to life than London…

While the bridging market has made some improvements over recent years to its geographical reach, I think it’s still fair to say that business is largely still concentrated in London and the South East.

There are many lenders who are making a good living from doing 95% of their deals in the capital and home counties, but I believe they are missing a trick by not addressing the widespread demand for bridging finance throughout the rest of the country.

As regional manager for Tuscan Capital in the Midlands (where I live and work), I’m fully aware of the opportunities that arise every day in Birmingham and the rest of the Midlands.

There are a number of key drivers for the growth in the region that we’re currently seeing and fully expect to continue over the coming months.

Britain’s traditional ‘second city’, Birmingham has around 4.3 million inhabitants within its larger metropolitan area, and it is growing.

The University of Birmingham is the seventh largest in the UK and its student population includes 23,155 undergraduate and 12,605 postgraduate students; that’s a lot of demand for rented accommodation and one of the reasons why we’re seeing demand from clients for finance to convert commercial premises into residential property.

In fact, refurbishment transactions across the board are a growth area for us in the Midlands. We’re seeing an increasing number of cases which fall under Permitted Development, which is as a result of positive changes to planning regulations over the past decade.

On the refurbishment side, we’re definitely seeing signs that a number of landlords are stepping away from their traditional investment route of buying buy-to-let properties.

Instead, investors are buying properties which they believe are below market value because of their condition and embarking on a relatively quick and light refurbishment to generate equity, but which also allows them to charge higher rents.

On the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) front, it’s important to recognise that two years ago the city council introduced a city-wide Article 4 Direction, which means that throughout the city a planning application must be submitted for proposals to convert family houses (C3 use class) to small HMOs accommodating between 3 and 6 people (C4 use class).

This has unsurprisingly dampened down demand in HMOs, but it certainly hasn’t closed the door. We’re still seeing interest in HMO conversions, especially in student areas due to the growth of the university.

Another key driver is HS2. Phase one of the new high speed railway line is being constructed from London to the West Midlands, where it will re-join the existing West Coast Mainline.

It is a leading source of new employment in the area and Birmingham’s geographical position in the middle of the country means it will become even more of a hub for other major conurbations, with future services to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan.

With train times to London set to halve when it opens during the next decade, it is expected that the exodus of (predominantly younger) Londoners will continue.

House prices in the Midlands are a lot more reasonable than they are in the capital and the pandemic has led to a lot of London residents to reassess their commitment to the metropolis.

This can only continue to be of benefit to places in the centre of the country.

With the New Street railway station renovation now complete, it is no longer being voted as one of the biggest eyesores in the UK!

Instead, it symbolises the regeneration of the city and its attractiveness to a number of major businesses. For example, HSBC bank has recently moved its main retail banking HQ outside of London back to Birmingham.

Businesses and families are being attracted not only by the house prices but by the quality of life. Birmingham recently expanded its clean air zone and public transport investment is on the increase, with more high speed bus lines and tramlines being put into place across the Midlands.

Working for a short-term lender and both living and working in the Midlands, I feel I’m ideally positioned to really help brokers and their investor clients with their cases.

With 15 years property finance experience, having originally started as a mortgage advisor, and since holding various roles as a broker, BDM as well as an underwriter with a lending mandate, I am driven by providing excellent service to the broker and borrower community.

Yes, I’m a cheerleader because I genuinely love the area, but it gives Tuscan a real advantage over other lenders who don’t have boots on the ground.

Working out of our Central Birmingham Office, I can be at a broker’s office or on a site visit at very short notice and I also have the experience and local knowledge that many others simply don’t have.

Tuscan is supporting investors who are playing their part in the renaissance of the Midlands and is always open for business; there’s more to life than London…

Get in touch to find out more by calling on 07485 581 986 or emailing [email protected]