Category Archives: Explore Madison County

Huntsville/Madison County residential median sales price in June improves 10% from prior year

Click here to view or print the entire June report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Huntsville/Madison County area residential sales in June slipped 1.7 percent from the same period a year earlier. Year-to-date sales are virtually the same as 2013 (-1.0%) through the month of June. Total sales of 507 units were 15 units or 2.7 percent shy of our monthly forecast.

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View full sizeHuntsville/Madison County residential sales slip 1.7% from last June. Inventory has decreased 2.2% from the month of June peak in 2010. Infograph provided by ACRE. All rights reserved.

Supply: Huntsville housing inventory totaled 3,259 units, an increase of 142 units from last June and 5.3 percent above the 5-year June average of 3,095 units. New home inventory is down 9.1 percent year-over-year while existing single family is up 6.9 percent. The inventory-to-sales ratio in June was 6.4 months of housing supply (3.9 months for new construction – down from 4.2 months in May 2013). The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be approximately 6 months during June. Huntsville remains one of Alabama’s most balanced markets in 2014. June inventory in Huntsville/Madison County experienced a 2.5 percent (79 units) increase when compared to the prior month. This movement contrast with seasonal & historical data trends that indicate June inventory on average (€™09-€™13) remained unchanged from the month of May.

Demand: New home sales improved 5.3 percent from last June after a weak May but a strong sales surge in April. New home sales spur economic growth and job creation so this is encouraging news. Existing single family home sales accounted for 73 percent (down from 74% in June’13) of total sales, new homes sales accounted for 14 percent (up from 12% in June’13) while condos were 3 percent of sales (down from 4% in June’13).

Residential sales in June improved 10.7 percent from the prior month. Real estate sales volume is seasonal and historical Huntsville data reflects that June sales, on average (€™09-€™13), increase from the month of May by 6.1 percent.

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View full sizeHuntsville/Madison County residential median sales prices rises 10% from last June. Infograph provided by ACRE. All rights reserved.

Pricing: The Huntsville median sales price in June was $184,900, an increase of 10.1 percent from June 2013 and 10.7 percent from the prior month. Historical data (09-13) indicates that the June median selling price traditionally increases from the month of May by 3.0 percent. It’s important to note that pricing can fluctuate from month-to-month as the sample size of data (closed transactions) is subject to seasonal buying patterns so a broader lens as to pricing trends is appropriate. ACRE recommends contacting a local real estate professional to discuss pricing at the neighborhood level.

Industry Perspective: According to Fannie Mae’s June National Housing Survey: Americans’ Attitudes Toward the Housing Market Reflect Steady but Slow Recovery, “Normal” Housing Levels Still a Ways Off. Click HERE for report.

View the current monthly Huntsville Residential Report here.

The Huntsville Residential Monthly Report is work product developed in conjunction with the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS to better serve North Alabama consumers. The ACRE monthly report is provided to illustrate the “general” market direction & trends when comparing prior periods with the most current available data. Real estate is local and statistics will fluctuate between areas within a city including subdivisions. ACRE recommends that you consult a local real estate professional for “specific” advice associated with your market.

About ACRE. ACRE was founded in 1996 by the Alabama Real Estate Commissionthe Alabama Association of REALTORS and the Office of the Dean, UA Culverhouse College of Commerce. ACRE is not a state-funded entity, rather its operates in part because of the goodwill & generosity of our statewide ACRE Partners.

Alabama real estate resources & news, please visit our website and our ACRE blog. You can also follow ACRE from our facebook page, just “like” http://www.facebook.com/acreua and/or follow on twitter at @uaacre.

Huntsville/Madison County residential median sales price in June improves 10% from prior year | AL.com.

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Madison County school board to buy land for new Monrovia High School

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After years of talk about the need for a new $46 million high school in the fast-growing Monrovia area, the Madison County school board Thursday night took first steps to buy land for the school.

The board authorized Superintendent David Copeland to enter into an agreement to purchase land for the new high school at the corner of Pine Grove Road and Pettus Road, across from Legacy Elementary School. Details about the cost of the land were not immediately provided.

The school board was reportedly looking at four sites in the Monrovia area, but declined to identify them. However, minutes from a Jan. 21 community advisory board meeting obtained by AL.com said the top choice was a site on the east side of Alabama 53 between Douglass and Kelly Spring roads.

The minutes said the school system also evaluated sites on Pine Grove Road across from Legacy Elementary School, the one chosen Thursday night, as well as sites near the intersection of Harbin Road and Wall-Triana Highway, and on the west side of Alabama 53 south of Douglass Road.

The proposed $46 million high school is intended to relieve crowding at Sparkman High in Harvest, one of Alabama’s largest public schools.

Each property was studied for potential environmental problems, flooding history, whether the soil can support the weight of a large building and other factors, chief operations officer Kerry Wilkerson told AL.com in February. All are between 50 and 70 acres.

The county school system has hired SKT Architects to design the new 1,600-student campus, which is being unofficially referred to as Monrovia High.

Madison County school leaders learned in July 2013 that the district will receive $55.9 million for new and expanded facilities to help accommodate student growth related to BRAC. Copeland has said the majority of the funds are earmarked for the Monrovia high school, which is tentatively scheduled to open in August 2016.

The new school would allow Sparkman Ninth Grade students to move to Sparkman High; the ninth-grade school would be converted into an intermediate campus.

AL.com reporter Steve Doyle contributed to this report.

Madison County school board moves to buy land for new Monrovia High School | AL.com.

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New Cabela’s superstore continues retail development boom across Madison County

The city of Huntsville added another notch to its retail belt this week with the announcement of a Cabela’s-anchored $80 million mixed-use center in the Rocket City.

The Nebraska-based outdoor gear, hunting and fishing giant is one of two national chains to plan stores in Huntsville this year. Whole Foods – another company on the city’s retail wish list – said in February it will anchor the new $50 million Shops at Merchants Walk project on the northeast corner of Bob Wallace Avenue and Memorial Parkway.

At least 1.7 million square feet of new retail and restaurant space has open, broken ground or been announced across Madison County during the past two years.

Ken Smith, director of research and information for the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, said the economy is finally at a point where more companies are pulling the trigger on projects that were on hold during the height of the recession.

“The combination of an economy that is outpacing U.S. growth, coupled with high incomes and the low cost of doing business, makes the Huntsville/Madison County market very attractive to retailers who are currently expanding,” he said. “Even with the announcement of Remington Arms coming to our community, that has drawn a lot of interest from other manufacturers, as well as commercial developments.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the addition of an 80,000-square-foot Cabela’s store at Parkside Town Centre near Interstate 565 and 255 at Governors West Road will bring an offering to the city not found anywhere else in Alabama.

“Also, it’s part of our continuing work on retail development trade that brings money into the city of Huntsville,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Among some of North Alabama’s other recent retail highlights:

  • Bridge Street Town Centre’s Phase III development is underway. A $20 million Belk flagship store will open at the center in October, while four additional retail buildings and up to 1,000 parking spaces will be added.
  • Publix and Homewood Suites by Hilton opened this spring at the $100 million Twickenham Square development in downtown Huntsville. Cajun Steamer Bar & Grill, Taco Mama, Mei Wei, Artisan at Twickenham Square and Beaute Nail Spa are on target to open later this year.
  • Wal-Mart is building two new Supercenters on Memorial Parkway and in Hazel Green. The retailer also recently broke ground on the city’s first Neighborhood Market at Oakwood Avenue and Jordan Lane and plans to start construction on its next Market store on the southwest corner of Wall Triana Highway and Pine Grove this month.
  • Bass Pro Outdoor World will anchor the Sweetwater commercial development in Decatur-annexed Limestone County.
  • The Crossing in Jones Valley is in the works. The upscale shopping development on Carl T. Jones Drive is expected to be complete in spring 2017.
  • The Avenue, a $30 million apartment building to be located on the corner of Jefferson Street and Holmes Avenue next to the federal courthouse, will include 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
  • A $180 million mixed-use development at the former Heart of Huntsville mall site in downtown was announced in April. Commercial realtor Scott McLain has already started negotiations with two restaurants and is in early discussions with residential developers for the live-work-play project.

McLain said the recent retail boom has put Huntsville on the map and Cabela’s decision to open its first Alabama store in Huntsville bodes well for the area.

“When we have national retailers selecting Huntsville, other national retailers take notice,” he said. “Retailers tend to follow one another. By Cabela’s making a notable announcement in Huntsville, it helps us a great deal with all sorts of other retailers.”

McLain, who said retailers like Cheesecake Factory and Neiman Marcus will never come to a market the size of Huntsville, said the availability of affordable land and retail sites remains the biggest challenge for developers moving forward.

Shane Davis, director of urban planning for the city of Huntsville, said the Cabela’s development will complement Bridge Street and enhance the 255 corridor from University Drive to I-565. Davis believes it could even help spark the redevelopment of the struggling Madison Square Mall.

Van Geroux, spokesman for Bridge Street, said the shopping center’s management isn’t concerned about competition from the new Cabela’s-anchored retail center in Huntsville.

“Based on their strong regional appeal in other markets, Cabela’s will be a popular attraction, bringing more visitors to the area from southern Tennessee, eastern Mississippi and other cities throughout North Alabama,” he said. “Cabela’s new store along with Bridge Street’s retail expansion currently underway are well positioned to serve the expanding Huntsville market.”

What about Bass Pro?

Gary Hammon, president of the Decatur City Council, said plans to bring a Bass Pro to the Decatur area haven’t changed. Despite “negotiating on some minor details,” Hammon said the deal is still on.

In April, the council approved an ordinance to authorize a project development and funding agreement with the city, Bass Pro and Genesis USA Development, LLC. The plan, which includes up to $45 million in tax incentives, is expected to create 400 jobs to start and 4,000 jobs over the next 15-25 years.

McLain said Cabela’s and Bass Pro are fierce competitors and Cabela’s has worked hard over the past year to beat Bass Pro to the local market. McLain said he wouldn’t be surprised if Bass Pro takes a fresh look at its plan to move into Decatur now that Cabela’s has confirmed its new store.

“North Alabama is one of the most enthusiastic hunting, fishing and outdoor communities in the nation, perhaps,” he said. “Given that the two stores are apparently not going to be located next to each other, that suggests that perhaps both could be successful.”

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New Cabela’s superstore continues retail development boom across Madison County | AL.com.

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National survey puts Huntsville at top of the list for employee engagement

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 Huntsville is best known for rockets, military and an abundance of engineers. A new survey shows it is also a place filled with some pretty happy workers.

A new survey by Quantum Workplace has Huntsville ranked as the top in the country for employee recognition. The company looked at surveys from nearly 5,000 organizations and 400,000 employees that take part in the Best Places to Work program to determine where employees were most satisfied with the recognition they receive.

That sort of recognition includes things such as pay increases, access to new learning or training, time off or praise from senior leadership.

Seventy-three percent workers polled in Huntsville said they were satisfied with the amount of recognition they receive.

The remainder of the top 10 are:

   No. 2 – Nashville, Tennessee

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 69 percent

   No. 3 – Austin, Texas

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 68 percent

   No. 4 - San Antonio, Texas

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 68 percent

   No. 5 – Washington, D.C.

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 68 percent

   No. 6 - Atlanta, Georgia

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 67 percent

   No. 7 – Charlotte, North Carolina

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 67 percent

   No. 8 – Orlando, Florida

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 67 percent

   No. 9 – Raleigh, North Carolina

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 67 percent

   No. 10 – Tampa, Florida

   Percent of Satisfied Employees: 67 percent

Overall, employees said pay raises were the best way to recognize work. That was followed by training opportunities, time flexibility, bonuses and promotions.

Managers should skip plaques or other company-branded merchandise, however. Those were rated least desirable among employees, with less than 5 percent saying those were important to them.

via Lots of happy engineers? National survey puts Huntsville at top of the list for employee engagement | AL.com.

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Over last 3 years Huntsville grew faster than any other large Alabama city

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Huntsville has grown faster than any other large Alabama city since 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released today.

The Rocket City’s population grew from 180,105 in April 2010 to 186,254, as of July 2013, a more than 3 percent increase.

Huntsville has a diverse economy driven by engineering, defense, aerospace, technology and biotech and it attracts newcomers. The U.S. Army and NASA have a strong local presence and Huntsville’s tradition of innovation has long been spurred by government contractors who branched out to start their own companies.

Huntsville is also routinely recognized by national publications as a desirable place to live, work and start a business.

Mayor Tommy Battle isn’t surprised by the city’s growth pattern.

“People realize that Huntsville is a great place to live, work, learn and play,” Battle said. “We see employers wanting to locate and expand here, more young professionals moving into our area, and a wonderful community that is open and welcoming to newcomers.”

The population growth here compares favorably with Alabama’s other largest cities, the Census figures show.

Birmingham saw its population rise by 672 people from 2012 to 2013, but its overall population fell slightly from 2010 to 2013, from 212,237 to 212,113. Mobile saw its population also fall slightly over the past three years, from 195,111 to 194,899. The population count showed a slight uptick for Mobile in 2013, up 11 people from 2012.

Montgomery finds itself moving in the opposite direction. The state’s capital saw its population decline 2 percent over the past three years, from 205,764 to 201,332. Montgomery’s population declined by more than 3,000 people in 2013, according to the Census figures.

Madison saw strong growth over the past three years, with a nearly 7 percent gain, from 42,938 in 2010 to 45,799 in 2013. The city grew by just over 800 people in 2013, figures show.

Athens also saw strong growth, up nearly 10 percent in the past three years, from a population of 21,897 to 24,000. Athens added about 500 people in 2013.  Decatur’s population grew slightly from 2010 to 2013, falling from 55,683 to 55,816. Decatur’s population fell by 185 residents in 2013, the figures show.

Huntsville grew faster than any other large Alabama city over the past three years | AL.com.

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