Summer Edition 2021: The Bull Sheets

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The Barber House Competition & Offer

Win vouchers for one haircut and one traditional shave – to enter sign up to The Bull Sheets here.

To celebrate the launch of The Barber House’s brand new cocktail bar all customers who mention The Bull Sheets when ordering will receive 2-for-1 cocktails.

Winner selected on 15 Oct 2021 - T&Cs apply.

The Cut-Throat Approach To Business

Dale Sampey – Proprietor Of The Barber House

 When Dale Sampey opened his barber shop in Nuneaton in 1995, he couldn’t have predicted what the next 26 years would bring. From changes in premises and locations, the upsurge of beard-loving hipster culture and most recently, a global pandemic, we took some time out to dig deep with Dale – owner of Birmingham’s The Barber House.

Let’s rewind the clock back to a time when BritPop was rife and Chris Evans could do no wrong. A young Dale Sampey realised that having dyslexia was never going to lead to a commerce-based career and that his future would be based around something more hands-on.

He cut his craft in the early 1990s, working in a barber shop in Coventry evenings and weekends, whilst working full-time from 5am to 2pm in a warehouse. A determined Dale bought his first house at the age of 18.

From his first shop in Nuneaton opened in 1995, he took a leap of faith and moved to his first Birmingham premises in 2014. Shortly after opening, The Barber House was featured in GQ Magazine, to which Dale refers as his ‘lucky break’.

The Barber House’s reputation soon grew. In the early days it was walk-in appointments and free alcohol to appease the time spent queueing – with some clients being in the shop for three plus hours, creating a social buzz not usually associated with getting a haircut.

“When hipster culture made bushy beards cool again, the barber house began to grow. we were the first barber shop in Birmingham to offer traditional wet shaves and very proud of our shoe-shining chair, again, one of a kind and a first in the city.” 

“Were we good enough to survive?” was the question on Dale’s lips. As it turned out, not only did The Barber House survive – it well and truly set the bar for others that followed. Priding themselves on their customer service, all of the team are personally trained in-house by Dale – a master barber himself which only comes with 20+ years’ experience.

Apprentices undertake a two year apprenticeship, moving through the ranks from trainee, to junior barber to barber. Having moved to Waterloo Street in the heart of the business district in 2018, The Barber House is the only retail premises in the vicinity.

When asked what he likes about Birmingham, Dale was incredibly positive about the future of Britain’s second city. “There’s so much investment, it literally changes week to week.” he said, adding: “there’s definitely a buzz about Birmingham and the business district is particularly busy.”

Although closed in March 2020 when covid-19 hit, The Barber House is now open again for business, having moved away from the walk-in appointments and introduced an online booking system for clients to book in their own time.

They also stock a range of male grooming products – why shouldn’t men look after themselves?!

Speaking about the city Dale shares his frustrations of public transport, Dale feels that improvements are needed on the trains and trams – both in service levels and a reduction in price to make public transport more appealing to those who still drive into the city every day.

To round off Dale’s pearl of wisdom about owning a business in the 21st century: “If it was easy, everyone would do it!”

Look out for Dale in the autumn, as he’s being interviewed in a forthcoming BBC2 production about the gangs of Birmingham, pre-Peaky Blinders.

Quick Fire Questions

What Makes Birmingham Unique?

“Definitely the people of Birmingham. They’re so friendly!”

Favourite Place To Go Out In Birmingham?

“The Grand Hotel on Colmore Row. They’ve really raised the bar with the refurbishment – it’s going to be a real destination place in the city centre. Great ambience and a very classy feel to it.”

If You Ran The City For The Day What One Change Would You Make?

“I’d give all the traffic wardens the day off!”

Favourite Hidden Gem In Birmingham?

“Well, I have to say the secret bar that we’ve recently had installed at The Barber House. If you want to get to know it better you’ll just have to make an appointment for a visit to the barbers...”

You can follow The Barber House on social media

Facebook: @thebarberhouse102

Instagram: @thebarberhouse_waterloo_st

Twitter: @The_Barberhouse


Birmingham Food & Drink: City Centre

In this issue of The Bull Sheets we’re focusing on the very best that Birmingham city centre has to offer in food & drink. We’ve rounded up our top five restaurants & bars, so you all you have to do is go & enjoy them!

Medicine Bakery

“Medicine Bakery can be found near Victoria Square or at their new venture in The Mailbox with each shop being filled with fresh baked goods each and every day.

“From seasonal treats to outlandish pastries you will be spoilt for choice making it the perfect place for a brunch or coffee and cake.”

Cherelle Stapleton – Office Manager at Barrows & Forrester

Vietnamese Street Kitchen

“The VSK team have recently moved from Brindleyplace to their new home by St Martin’s at the Bullring.

“A great place to visit any time or day of the week especially if you want a quick bite – there’s nothing better than a big bowl of pho to give you that comforting food feeling.”

Robyn Peters – Sales & Lettings at Barrows & Forrester

Harvey Nichols

“Hidden amongst all the designer clothes and mannequins in Harvey Nics is a delightful boutique bar with staff who know their stuff when it comes to making you a drink.

“Just beyond the glass casing that houses many an obscure tipple you will find a restaurant that can get you a great value meal or even a special pop up event with a local star chef.”

Tom Bower – Head of Marketing & Comms at Barrows & Forrester

Oyster Club

“Considering how far we are from the seaside – it’s an absolute joy to be able to get high quality seafood in the Midlands.

“If you’re not having two dozen oysters and a nice bottle of fizz each time you visit you’re not doing it justice.”

James Forrester – Managing Director at Barrows & Forrester

Bacchus Bar

“Hidden underneath the Burlington Arcade the spiral staircase descends into the rather unique, dark underground venue that is Baccus Bar.

“An old school venue with its nooks and crannies makes it one of the few bars in the city where you can’t get a signal so you actually spend time speaking to the friends you’re with rather than glued to your phone.”

Jack Harris – Sales & Lettings at Barrows & Forrester

Birmingham Property Market Price Crash?

By James Forrester – Managing Director for Barrows & Forrester

The annual rate of property price growth in Birmingham has increased to 12.2%.

Looking at the national figures, many people were concerned the UK property market was overheating as spring saw annual growth of 9.9%, the highest rate of house price growth documented since June 2007 (when national house prices were rising by 10.8% p.a.).

It was only a matter of a few months later the Credit Crunch hit, and the average value of a UK home plummeted from £190,032 to £154,452 in 18 months, a drop of 18.7%.

Government economic measures such as the Furlough Scheme and the Stamp Duty Holiday have so far shielded the Birmingham property market from the worst economic recession since 1709.

So, the question is, can this growth in Birmingham house prices continue, or is this the start of a house price crash?

One thing is for sure, looking at the number of For Sale boards going up and turning to sold just as quick, shows this market is not maintainable for the long term.

After all, many Birmingham homeowners lost their jobs and had mortgages paying 6% to 7% in interest payments.

But surely, if Birmingham house prices are rising, won’t Birmingham homes become unaffordable?

Well, with low-interest rates, this means Birmingham homes are still relatively affordable. In 1989, the house price to earnings ratio was 5.4 to 1, whilst today that stands at 8.8 to 1. It’s no wonder some people are concerned there will be a house price crash (as there was in 2008 when that ratio hit 7.5 to 1).

However, it doesn’t matter what the house price to earnings ratio is... it is what percentage of your income is required to pay your mortgage.

In 1989, 74.6% of your income was required to service an 80% loan to value mortgage on an average UK home. In the 1990s that percentage dropped yet rose steadily over the next decade and a half, so by the time we got to 2008, that was an equally eye-watering figure of 61.6% of your income to service an 80% mortgage.

Today, it’s only 35.9% of your income to service an 80% mortgage because of low interest rates.

But how will increased interest rates affect the Birmingham property market?

Thankfully, 91% of all new mortgages being written are fixed interest rate mortgages and 78% of all existing UK mortgages are fixed-rate (compared to 32.8% in the credit crunch) meaning we won’t have so many houses being dumped on the housing market like we did in the Credit Crunch, because on a fixed rate mortgage if interest rates rise – mortgages don’t follow suit.

And that’s the key … unemployment combined with high-interest rates caused many Birmingham homeowners to put their property on to the market in 2008/9.

Tied in with curtailed demand for property, because it was really difficult to get a mortgage (that’s why it was called the Credit Crunch) … we had an oversupply and subdued demand of Birmingham homes – causing house prices to drop by 16% to 19% depending on what type of property you owned.

So, a good bellwether and indicator on what will (or will not) happen to Birmingham property prices is the number of properties for sale at any one time.

There are only 3,807 properties available to buy in Birmingham today, low when compared to the 14-year average of 6,652 properties for sale in the city, whilst at the height of the credit crunch, there were 11,963 properties for sale at one point in Birmingham.

Read more property stories at:


Jewellery Quarter landlords owed £312,590 in unpaid rent. Rogues or saviours?

There is no getting away from the fact that the rise in the number of buy-to-let properties in Jewellery Quarter has been nothing short of astonishing over the last twenty years.

Jewellery quarter landlords receive £16,973,208 a year in rent easy money or what?

So, as we come out of lockdown, I want to make a stand for Jewellery Quarter landlords and talk about the great work they have been doing during the pandemic.

Since lockdown, it has been (almost) illegal to evict a tenant from private rented property. Yet, in the last few weeks, this ‘ban on evictions’ has begun to be eased.

The personal finances of some Jewellery Quarter landlords and tenants have been ruthlessly strained during the last 16 months – something that is going to have ramifications on the back pockets of both landlords and tenants.

153 Jewellery Quarter tenants are in arrears with their rent to the tune of £312,950.

The eviction ban was imposed in March 2020 and the Government has expected private landlords to stand the cost of their tenants rent if they could no longer pay. It was estimated over 1 in 5 landlords with mortgages had requested a mortgage payment holiday in 2020 which now stands at 1 in 100.

I have seen so many landlords giving their Jewellery Quarter tenants rent breaks and discounts to help them through these times.

Going into the pandemic, 1 in 25 Jewellery Quarter tenants were in arrears, yet that now stands at 1 in 11.

So, are we going to see lots of evictions? I would go as far as to rebuff the idea.

I feel for those Jewellery Quarter tenants on furlough or reduced hours as they look to move to a cheaper rental property, yet those rental deposits will cover their rent arrears.

A National Residential Landlords Association survey found around a third of all landlords were now more likely to sell their buy-to-let properties. This would mean fewer properties to rent and drive up costs.

According to government and industry data, evidence suggests that a tenant who rents a property directly through a landlord and not through a letting agent is between two and three times more likely to go into arrears of two months or more.

Many of those landlords are switching the management of their property to an agent, and for those landlords sticking with self-management of their property, there is circumstantial evidence they are starting to become a lot pickier when starting new tenancies.

Want to know more about passing the management of your property to an agent? Contact us here or call 0121 296 2600.

Commonwealth Countdown: One Year To Go

Summertime can only mean one thing for the people of Birmingham – it’s officially one year to go to the Commonwealth Games.

To kick off the 365 day countdown a spectacular display by 300 drones lit up the heavens over the Birmingham skyline to mark the occasion.

The drones created mesmerising characters amongst the stars – including Birmingham’s Perry The Bull mascot, a basketball hoop and also the Commonwealth logo.

The drone show happened in the early hours over the city as Birmingham prepares to host the games from 28 July 2022.

The celebrations continued with a great event at Centenary Square in central Birmingham, hosting a live sports festival that showcased some of the 19 sports and eight para sports that will be part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The event, held exactly one year before Birmingham 2022’s opening ceremony, was designed to bring to life many of the sports that will feature at the games – the largest multi-sport event to be held in the UK since the London 2012 Olympics.

 For one day only, the square was filled with sports activities hosted by the national governing bodies of 12 Commonwealth sports running fun sports zones providing a free family day out in the summer holidays.

A boxing ring hosted a pad challenge, there was a longest rally challenge on a special squash court and a shooting challenge held on a basketball court.

There was also a sprint challenge on a short track for aspiring athletes to test their speed.

Cricket was being showcased through a batting simulator, with expert coaches on hand to give batting tips and a mini bowling green created so that everyone could try their hand at lawn bowls. A volleyball speed cage was also set up to test the speed of your spike.

There was also the chance to meet Team England athletes and watch them demonstrate each sport. They took part in question and answer sessions, providing a real insight into how they are preparing for the Commonwealth Games.

Even Perry, the official mascot for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, made a special appearance in Centenary Square and the countdown begins to 2022.

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