Birmingham remains top destination for Londoners – BBC News

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Second City was the most popular place for people leaving London

Birmingham is the most popular destination for people moving from London, official figures show.

More than 6,000 people left the capital for England’s second city last year, according to the latest internal migration statistics.

The second, third and fourth most popular destinations were all within 50 miles of London – Brighton, Thurrock and Epping Forest respectively.

Business leaders say the figures reflect an ongoing trend.

Emma Gray, marketing director for Visit Birmingham, said the city had seen significant growth and investment.

“People may have older perceptions of Birmingham and have not seen how it has transformed over the past 10 years,” she said.

“Businesses both internationally and domestically are looking for opportunities outside the capital.”

“They know that by being located in a central place like Birmingham they have the best of both worlds, they can get back to friends and family, and because they are in the middle of the country they can explore more.”

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption New buildings such as the Library of Birmingham have seen the city’s landscape change

Last year, HSBC bank said about 1,000 jobs would be transferred from London to Birmingham as it relocates its headquarters to a new office in the city centre.

Deutsche Bank has also continued to expand in the city.

‘An incredibly vibrant city’

Image copyright Lucy Williams

Lucy Williams, head of UK Bank Regulatory Compliance at HSBC, moved to Birmingham with her husband and three children.

“My last visit to the city was 25 years ago and it was very different then. It’s an incredibly vibrant city. Physically, it’s changed dramatically.

“The community has been incredibly welcoming… and reached out to us.

“There’s an awful lot going on in the city all the time. We have found there’s so much going on for families.

“The move for the family has been incredibly positive.”

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption More than 6,000 people left London for the Birmingham last year

The figures, analysed by BBC England’s data unit, are largely based on NHS registrations and are likely to be an underestimate.

They will include students heading to university, as well as people who were moved from London boroughs because local authorities were not able to afford the rising cost of housing them in the capital. One authority, Wandsworth, admitted offering grants of up to 7,000 to anyone prepared to move to Birmingham.

Heather Richardson, the director of Fish Home Finders, which helps people to relocate to the West Midlands, said young professionals were attracted by lower property prices and a better quality of life.

“They have this image of Birmingham being a really industrial city and every single time people say ‘wow, I did not know Birmingham was like this’.

“There’s nothing like living in a capital city, you can’t compete with that, but Birmingham has everything on a smaller scale.”

London and Birmingham compared


Average London house price


Average Birmingham house price

  • 1,727 Average London monthly rent

  • 675 Average Birmingham monthly rent

  • 6.1% London unemployment

  • 6.2% West Midlands unemployment

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