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Bobby Singh: The Flying Turban

SECOND CITY: Business is
on the up in Birmingham
SECOND CITY: Business is on the up in Birmingham

by ANDY MARINO MIDLANDS MAN IS MAKING AN IMPACT THEY used to say there were two topics of conver­sation in Birmingham: cars, and the price of cars. Now there’s three. Bobby Singh is an estate agent who set up shop in the small West Midlands town of Oldbury. He wears a turban and speaks with a slight Black Country ac­cent that a great education (BA, MBA, FCCA) has not completely detuned. Oldbury is hardly a name to conjure with on the international property market. Even being really, re­ally close to Smethwick, and despite easy access to the M5 motorway and the glittering promise of downtown Birmingham, Oldbury probably can’t compete with San Francisco, Dubai or Sydney. But something is happening in Birmingham and its environs: international capital is starting to flow in the direction of local properties. Specifically, in the direction of Singh’s properties. Londoners and foreign buyers, especially from south Asia and the Far East, are snapping up houses and apartments sight unseen and above asking-price in places such as Dudley and Rowley Regis. Speculative interest in UK property is hardly unusu­al. In parts of the capital and a few other hotspots, at the upper end of the market, foreign buyers dominate. But ordinary houses in the suburbs around Birmingham? “Huge amounts,” Singh confirms. “It’s the Far East that’s interested. In my LinkedIn inbox are enquiries from funds in Dubai and many other places, and they are saying they have major interest in the UK.” Something is going on, and it is probably due in large part to the phenomenon of Singh. He launched his online but still very much brick-and-mortar es­tate agency in 2010, in the depths of the post-crash recession when the mantra from experts was that the entire world was moving online. Everybody was broke, and price…

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