Category Archives: Madison County “in the news”

Huntsville makes Top 10 list of safest places to drive

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Huntsville and Montgomery have been named two of the safest cities for driving a car by Bankrate.com.

Does this surprise you?

According to the list, the odds of getting into a collision in the city of Huntsville are 20.1 percent less than the national average, giving the city a No. 7 spot on the list.

The city of Montgomery is ranked No. 9 because motorists are 16.3 percent less likely to get into a crash in Alabama’s capitol city than the national average.

Here is Bankrate’s Top 10 list of safest cities to drive:

  1. Fort Collins, Co.
  2. Boise, Idaho
  3. Sioux Falls, S.D.
  4. Brownsville, Texas
  5. Madison, Wis.
  6. Reno, Nev.
  7. Huntsville
  8. Visalia, Calif.
  9. Montgomery
  10. Eugene, Ore.

2 Alabama cities make Top 10 list of safest places to drive a car. What do you think? | AL.com.

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Huntsville among top 10 Most Promising U.S. Tech Hubs to watch in 2014 by Techie.com

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Downtown Huntsville. (AL.com file photo)

Huntsville was the only city in Alabama to make Techie.com‘s new Most Promising Tech Hubs of 2014 list.

Other U.S. cities featured on the list, which was released Monday, were Atlanta; Burlington, Vt.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Champaign/Urbana, Ill.; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Orlando, Fla.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; and Sioux Falls, S.D.

“One of the most important factors in naming our most amazing tech hubs is the presence, or at least the emergence, of a tech and startup culture,” said Dan Blacharski, Techie.com editor-in-chief. “Without the culture, the meetups, and the fun places to go in the city, tech startups just won’t want to come.”

Techie.com editors also considered other factors, including the presence of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces, city and community support and available infrastructure, such as high-speed Internet.

A Techie.com article highlighting the top 10 cities lauded Huntsville’s Cumming Research Park, aerospace and military technology companies, and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

“But it’s not all government and academia; Huntsville is rapidly emerging as one of the best places in the South for small, emerging tech businesses,” Blacharski said.

The piece also features quotes from BizTech Chief Executive Officer Gary Tauss and Huntsville entrepreneur and Small Business Meetup Group creator Brandon Kruse.

Click here to read the full article.

“For a great place to launch a startup, entrepreneurs need look no further than Huntsville,” Blacharski said. “The entrepreneurial scene, and vibrant incubators like Biztech – along with good old fashioned southern hospitality – has made Huntsville one of the greatest laboratories for tech startups in the country.”

Among some of Huntsville/Madison County’s other recent honors: the third best U.S. city for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) graduates by NerdWallet; a top high-tech U.S. hotspot by the Progressive Policy Instituteone of the top U.S. cities on the rise by NerdWallet; a high-ranking U.S. city for economic growth potential by Business Facilities Magazineone of the best cities for high-tech startups by Entrepreneur Magazine; and a great city for computer programmers by ValuePenguin.

Huntsville among top 10 Most Promising U.S. Tech Hubs to watch in 2014 by Techie.com | AL.com.

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Huntsville listed among 8 up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S.

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Is the Rocket City an aspiring Silicon Valley? An Austin-based company ranking America’s eight up-and-coming tech hubs seems to think so.

SpareFoot shined the spotlight on Huntsville in a blog post today highlighting the country’s top emerging tech cities.

In the listing, SpareFoot praised Huntsville for placing 14th last year on Entrepreneur.com’s 25 best U.S. cities for technology startups list. The city was also lauded for having a “startup mover and shaker” like BizTech and “feather in its cap” like Cummings Research Park.

Huntsville companies Bragg Peak Systems, Correlated Magnetics Research, Curse and eTruckBiz were recognized as the city’s “tech stars.”

Other cities included in the listing were: Charleston, S.C.; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas; New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; and Provo, Utah.

In October, Huntsville ranked No. 4 on the Progressive Policy Institute’s list of 25 high-tech U.S. hotspots. Huntsville was also recently the only Alabama city to make Techie.com’s top 10 most promising tech hubs to watch in 2014 list.

Huntsville listed among 8 up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S. by Austin-based startup | AL.com.

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Huntsville breaks ground on 2 new schools named for NASA astronauts

(Bob Gathany/bgathany@al.com)

(Bob Gathany/bgathany@al.com)

Two new public schools named for NASA astronauts will soon begin to rise along Pulaski Pike in northwest Huntsville.

The city school system held a standing-room-only groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the $65 million Jemison High School as well as McNair Junior High, which will share the same campus.

Decatur-born astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison flew in from Chicago for the ceremony and challenged the schools’ future students to make a difference in their city, their state, their world. Jemison became the first black woman in space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1992.

Children are born with an “innate energy and drive,” she said, but it can be dampened by adults.

“Adults started telling you what you couldn’t do,” Jemison told a group of students from the four schools that will feed into the new campuses: Johnson High, Butler High, Davis Hills Middle and Ed White Middle. “We started lowering your expectations of this world that was around you. Ignore them.

“Know that you can achieve so many things.”

Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski said architectural drawings for Jemison High and McNair Junior High are about 15 percent complete, meaning construction is still several months away. The plan is to open both schools in August 2016.

“This is the prologue in what will be many, many pages and many, many chapters of exceptional history which will be written by the students of Jemison High School,” said Wardynski.

McNair Junior High is named for Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space and one of seven astronauts killed in the January 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

via We have lift-off: Huntsville breaks ground on 2 new schools named for NASA astronauts | AL.com.

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Huntsville/Madison County area residential sales up 16% in January

Huntsville/Madison County area residential sales totaled 314 units in January, an improvement in sales growth of 16.3 percent from last January and 7 units above our monthly forecast.

Click here to view or print the entire January report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.
Historical Sales.jpgView full sizeHuntsville/Madison County residential sales up 16% from last January. Inventory is 6% below January 2011 peak. Infograph provided by ACRE. All rights reserved.

Supply: Huntsville housing inventory totaled 2,823 units, a decrease of 19 units from last January. New home inventory is up 4.4 percent year-over-year. The inventory-to-sales ratio in January was 9.0 months of housing supply (6.3 months for new construction – up from 4.3 in December). The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be approximately 8 months during January. Huntsville and Baldwin County were Alabama’s most balanced markets in 2013. January inventory in Huntsville experienced a 1.7 percent (48 units) decrease when compared to the prior month. Historical data trends indicate January inventory on average (’09-’13) increases from the month of December by 3.5 percent.

Demand: Existing single family home sales accounted for 72 percent (up from 68% in Jan’13) of total sales, new homes sales accounted for 26 percent (down from 32% in Jan’13) while condos were 2 percent of sales (same as Jan’13).

Residential sales in January slipped by 18.2 percent from the prior month. Real estate sales volume is seasonal and historical Huntsville data reflects that January sales, on average (’09-’13), decrease from the month of December by 30.5 percent.

Pricing: The Huntsville median selling price in January was $154,332, a slip of 9.2 percent from January 2013. This figure also decreased by 18.2 percent from last month. Historical data (’09-’13) indicates that the January median selling price traditionally decrease from the month of December by 2.6 percent. 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.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, who recently presented at ACREcon said “Direction wise I see the economy is expanding. I expect 2.5% GDP growth this year. In the 4th quarter growth was solid but that was one quarter. We need that rate to be consistent for four quarters.”  Assuming that growth and concurrent job creation, Yun still sees challenges for housing sales going forward. “Housing affordability is coming down. You have mortgage rates and prices rising in 2014 but it will take growth and job creation on the other side,” he said. “For the year as a whole I think it will be neutral on US housing prices.” Yun said “He is already seeing softness in housing readings for the first quarter, and hopes the remainder of the year will be strong enough to balance it out.”

More industry perspectives: “January 2014 sales of new and existing homes reflected the decline in the affordability rate in most regions, the widespread inclement weather and the rise in interest rates. The slowdown in year over year unit sales also reflects the absence of real growth in employment and household incomes,” said Steve Murray, editor of the REAL Trends Housing Market Report. “As we stated last month we believe that unit sales are nearing a normal level given employment, the number of households, mortgage rates and household income. We expect that year over year increases will continue to be only slightly improved on a year over year basis in the months ahead.”

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.

via Huntsville/Madison County area residential sales up 16% in January | AL.com.

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