Moving to Birmingham with young kids, advice needed

(34 Posts)
NewToBirmingham Mon 16-Nov-15 22:14:57

Hi Everyone,
I need some advice please! smile Relocating to Birmingham with 4 year old and a baby. We are moving from London suburbs so are looking somewhere not too quiet; with few shops and facilities, train station etc not necessary but good transport links to city centre would be a bonus.
We are looking to buy a 3 bed (4 would be a treat ;) house with reasonable outside space for kids. I am after a quiet area, prefferably not on a council estate ( bad experience from before!) Our max budget is £170,000
Hubby will be working in south Birmingham, exact location not specified yet but we were told to look for places in south part of the city...He will drive so we don't mind to be even more out if properties are cheaper and areas safer further away from centre...
So far I had a look at King's Heath and surrounding areas but there are really cheap properties and then very expensive ones as well so not sure if I am looking in dodgy parts of good areas at times.
We are a mixed-race couple so I would like to know if people are generally tolerant and friendly down that end too smile

Your help would be really appreciated as we know nothing about Birmingham and it is a big step for us to move there with young kids...
Please take a moment if you have any useful tips

Thank you smile

MNBirminghamLocalEd Wed 18-Nov-15 22:06:49

Hi NewtoBirmingham, and welcome! Kings Heath is a really good starting point (good schools, lively, good public transport although no train, big park), but prices are on the up.

House prices here might be lower than London, but you definitely won't find a 4-bedroom house in Sutton Coldfield, Harborne, Moseley or Bournville for £170,000, and prices certainly go up in the catchment areas of the most popular schools.

You could try Selly Oak (although some areas are extremely studenty), Weoley Castle, and parts of Northfield (St Lawrence school is good). Bearwood is definitely worth a look. North of the city, look at houses in Erdington.

Good luck, and come back if you have any more questions further down the line.

NewToBirmingham Thu 19-Nov-15 21:05:11

Hi MNBirminghamLocalEd and thank you ever so much for your post! smile
I looked at Kings Heath and some properties look promising. The most expensive areas are certainly out of our budget but I will look at your suggested areas.

Thank you again!

PrincessPurple Sat 21-Nov-15 00:02:22

I would think you'll struggle in much of South Birmingham for a four bed for £170k. In fact I doubt you'll get near a station for that budget for a 3 bed. We are Cotteridge, great area, good schools, fab parks, v close to station and you're looking at £150k ish for a decent 2 bed at the mo.

Bearwood has always seemed alright to me and may be slightly cheaper. Quinton? Not near a train line but alright in a suburb way. Friends live further into Sandwell and seem to like it.

There's some offers on Help To Buy on the new estate in Selly Oak but still more than your budget.

KingsHeathen Sat 21-Nov-15 00:11:49

Kings Heath is a great place, and there's lots of families with multiple heritages smile

Your budget won't get you a four bed though. Probably not 3 bed either unless it's ex-council or in an area of social housing.

Driving/commuting is a nightmare though- traffic is terrible, takes ages to go short distances. No train station in KH.

froufroulala Sat 21-Nov-15 01:04:34

I live in Selly Oak. It has great transport links including a train station. The QE hospital is within walking distance & so is Birmingham Uni. At the moment it is changing & developing with a new retail complex being built. A lot of new housing too. But, as a pp said, we have a fair amount of students. This has affected the property prices. To give you an example a 2 bed, terraced with a flooded cellar recently sold for 217,000. I only know South B'ham to live in but my friends in mixed-race relationships are very happy here. Perhaps try Cotteridge, Stirchley & of course Selly Oak. I hope you are successful & welcome to Brum smile

NewToBirmingham Sat 21-Nov-15 20:32:44

Dear froufroulala, thanks a lot for your post! smile Very useful tips. Selly Oak comes up a lot so I am definitely looking up that end. So far couple of nice properties are worth a look at. How are schools down that end? terribly oversubscribed? we will most likely be late with application for my daughter as deadline is in mid January.. Thanks again for your help smile

NewToBirmingham Sat 21-Nov-15 20:45:02

KingsHeathen very useful info about traffic/estate properties. As I said, I looked at lots of 3bed houses within our budget but as you said, most must be on estates. Hard to tell at times just by looking at pictures... Thank you for your reply smile

lovetheshires Sat 21-Nov-15 20:47:56

How about Bromsgrove?

NewToBirmingham Sat 21-Nov-15 21:00:17

PrincessPurple thanks for your advice, Bearwood looks ok, will check more down that end.
2 bed might be slightly small for us unless there is potential to extend. I will check that as well. I am certainly encouraged by your description of Cotteridge area! smile

NewToBirmingham Sat 21-Nov-15 21:03:17

lovetheshires, nobody mentioned that area to me yet. I will certainly look at it smile thank you

KingsHeathen Sun 22-Nov-15 01:36:29

Cotteridge is great- fab park, lots going on, and a train station. If you want help in specific roads, let us know!

PrincessPurple Sun 22-Nov-15 13:04:08

The thing you'll find with a lot of South Birmingham is the lack of 3 bed houses. Most housing is terraced and the vast majority of three beds have a downstairs bathroom. Many have moved the bathroom upstairs, leaving two bedrooms.

Then you're on to the four bedroom houses which are pushing towards £300k in many areas.

Selly Oak is pretty busy for schools. I think Raddlebarn has a shrinking catchment area. I have friends who use Tiverton and are happy with it. St Mary's is gaining a class at the moment iyswim and I know people who have chosen it out of catchment. Cotteridge school is good and is full through applicant choice for the first time this year. Bournville is ranked outstanding but they've had nine teaching staff leave this year and I know a number who have moved to private at Junior as they weren't happy. Many others love it though.

froufroulala Sun 22-Nov-15 22:56:22

Sorry - a bit late to answer your question about schools in Selly Oak. PrincessPurple seems to have covered it though smile Being a Catholic my kids went to St Edwards in Selly Park, again walking distance but a good 20 mins. A really good school. St. Marys I hear good things about too. The new house builds are on land that used to be Selly Oak Hospital, we went past today & although quite a few have been built there is still a huge amount of land to build on. I wonder if the price of them will differ. Just putting myself in your shoes I realised it is a huge step moving somewhere you don't know. Wonders if anyone knows much about Longbridge, that's being developed too....

NewToBirmingham Mon 23-Nov-15 20:26:03

Hi all, thank you very much for your messages smile It is helpful to have a few opinions to refer to.. Froufroulala thank you for school info; yes it is a big step for us, for me particularly important because of little one's good and happy start of her schooling. What would you guys say about Strathdene Road, B29. I found a property there and was wondering if area ok down that end. It is within catchment to St Mary's and Cherry Oak (shows as outstanding although nobody mentioned it here ;)

NewToBirmingham Mon 23-Nov-15 20:29:01

Please bear with me on this thread for a bit longer as it will almost certainly take me a while to sort out the area choice ;)
I really appreciate people taking time to post/answer. Thank you all

PrincessPurple Mon 23-Nov-15 20:50:43

I had friends who lived on Strathdene Rd. It's just into Selly Oak before you hit Wheoley Castle (not nice). The houses were decent and there's a park nearby and walking distance to Sainsbury's, Selly Oak station and the Bristol Rd for buses. Not far from Harborne and the hospitals/uni too.

PrincessPurple Mon 23-Nov-15 20:52:50

I haven't heard of Cherry Oak school btw. Friends who lived on there used St Mary's. They've recently moved out of the area. In fact, I wonder if it's their house as they didn't sell immediately!

PrincessPurple Mon 23-Nov-15 21:00:22

I checked - it's not theirs!

froufroulala Mon 23-Nov-15 21:57:19

My sis in law lives on that road - yes its fine there. Cherry Oak school is for children with moderate to severe special needs. St Marys, is at the most, a 10 minute walk from there.

KingsHeathen Mon 23-Nov-15 22:25:50

Cherry Oak is a (v good) special school- so people aren't likely to recommend it unless your child has additional needs! smile
What area of London do you live in now? Just trying to think of an area that's like Strathdene Rd. It's in the non-studenty bit of B29. It is close to social housing, if not actually ex-council. You're likely to be offered Watermill Primary, Jervoise, or Paganel if your DD is reception already (is St. mary's expansion from next year?).
It would probably be in catchment for the University School for secondary, which is popular (going on number of first choice preferences last year).

froufroulala Tue 24-Nov-15 00:19:23

Raddlebarn & Tiverton are in Selly Oak too. A family has just moved into our road & got their two girls into St.Marys smile Strathdene Rd is not ex council btw.

NewToBirmingham Tue 24-Nov-15 23:26:00

Hi everyone, thanks for more posts and update on Strathdene Rd. PrincessPurple, that would be a coincidence with your friends' house! lol
Cherry Oak did not show as special needs school in brief description on zoopla but good to know smile
KingsHeathen, we are in Enfield atm, north suburbs of London... DD is going to be reception in September; nursery atm.
froufroulala, I thought so - the houses did not look like ex council, at least according to local standards here ;)
Btw, are there any other ways, rather than bothering you good people;), of assessing the area re: council estat etc. I am really very cautious regarding that and need to make an informed choice. On zoopla there is a section about area and then it shows graphs etc about neighbours having mortgage, privately renting, social etc but not sure how reliable that is... Agents can be confusing as some of them say different things altogether. One lady last week told me that Woeley Castle is a good area?

Can I throw at you one more address? Found a beautiful property in Shenley Fields Road... I am afraid to ask ;)

KingsHeathen Tue 24-Nov-15 23:37:34

Sorry- Weoley Castle is not a 'good' area. It's good on price only!

sbrum Tue 24-Nov-15 23:57:41

I don't know if I can add much to the above, but I currently rent in Kings heath, am looking for a house & school, and we are a mixed ethnicity family, so thought I'd add what I can smile
1) I've lived in Birmingham most of my life, and while there are racists anywhere, generally it is so extremely diverse that you won't have the slightest problem.
2) As others have said, you'll struggle to get anything for 170 in Kings Heath, Moseley, Bourneville. Every house we have offered on so far has gone for way above asking price. There are 3 beds on at 230, 280 in central KH. If you try towards Allens' Croft school, you might have more luck. Or try Stirchley or Cotteridge. Stirchley has just got a new arts centre, a fancy cafe, and an artisan bakery thingy, which probably means it's next to take off (apologies for the middle class cliches smile ) The school to avoid is probably Moor Green which is in special measures, otherwise I think all of them are fine.
3) To be honest I don't think there are any really bad areas in south Birmingham. Ok, there are a few tower blocks that aren't great (DRuids' heath had some bad incidents) but you are not looking for a flat anyway. I think most ex council areas would probably be fine.
4) One way to tell if an area is an estate or ex-estate is to look at the shape of the roads on GoogleMaps. If they look planned, very regular and repeating patterns (for example, Pineapple Road and surrounding), they may well be ex council housing. If they don't look planned - if they are long, straggly, irregular etc. they are probably red brick terraces like 95% of Birmingham smile But as I say I don't think there are any really bad areas in south Bhm.

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