Category Archives: What’s Happening Around Madison County

Alabama Residential Home Sales up 5.9% in 2012


Alabama home sales finished 2012 up 5.9% from prior year. Infograph courtesy of ACRE. All rights reserved.

It’s a wrap, the numbers are in from across the state. Alabama residential sales in 2012 improved by 5.9 percent from 2011. This represents the second consecutive year of positive sales growth for Alabama’s residential real estate industry. In 2011, sales grew by 2 percent ending a six year period of declining sales including 2010 that saw sales decline 4 percent.

Across Alabama in 2012, 72 percent of local markets reported positive sales growth compared to last year. This is also an improvement from the prior year where 56 percent of local markets experienced positive sales growth.

Click here to view or print the full report.

Supply: The statewide housing inventory in December was 30,869 units, a decrease of 4.6 percent from December 2011 and 18.6 percent below the month of December’s peak in 2007 (37,916 units)

There were 10.8 months of housing supply (6 months considered equilibrium) in December 2012 versus 11.3 months of supply in December 2011, a favorable decline of 3.9 percent.

December inventory in Alabama also experienced a 4.3 percent decrease when compared to the prior month. This trend is consistent with historical data indicating that December inventory on average (’07-’11) traditionally decreases from the month of November by 4.3 percent.

Demand: In December, Alabama residential sales were outperformed by the US market which showed an increase of 12.8 percent from the prior year, according to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). NAR also reported that the South region sales were up 14.7 percent from last December. Investors accounted for 21 percent of nationwide sales while 29 percent were all-cash sales and 30 percent were first-time home buyers (40% in typical market).

November statewide residential sales dropped 7.2 percent from the prior month. This movement is higher than historical data that indicates that November sales, on average (’07-’11), decrease from the month of October by 3.7 percent. In comparison, US sales rose 2.1 percent from last month while the South region also improved by 2.1 percent from the prior month.

Pricing: The statewide median selling price in December was $134,661, an increase of 16.2 percent from last December. This figure represents an increase of 12.1 percent when compared to the prior month. Historical data (’07-’11) reflects that the December median selling price traditionally decreases from the month of November by .4 percent. Nationally, NAR states that distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 24 percent of December sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 12 percent were short sales), Foreclosures typically sold for an average 17 percent below market price in December, while short sales were discounted 16 percent.

Local Results: 11 out of the 25 local reporting associations (44% – this is down from 64% in November) reflect sales gains from last December. In 2012, sales in metro markets (up 8% from last year) outperformed both rural (up 5%) and midsize areas (up 1%). All 5 major metro areas representing 70% of Alabama sales have positive year-over-year growth rates except Tuscaloosa (down .4%, primarily due to increased storm-related demand in 2011).

via Alabama Year-End Residential Report: Sales up 5.9% in 2012; 72% of local markets show improvement from 2011 |

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Sunday is National Plug In Day

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, left, shows his Ford Focus Electric to Tennessee Valley EV Drivers founder Josh Pritt at Redstone Energy Demonstration Park in July. (The Huntsville Times/Glenn Baeske)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Electric vehicle enthusiasts will gather at Redstone Energy Demonstration Park on Sunday to celebrate National Plug In Day.

Huntsville is one of more than 60 U.S. cities hosting a Plug In Day event to draw attention to the environmental and economic benefits of plug-in electric vehicles.

Joshua Pritt, who founded the Tennessee Valley EV Drivers group earlier this year, said there are at least 14 plug-in electric cars now on the road in Madison County. “They’re here, and they’re longing to be plugged in,” Pritt said Friday.

Problem is, there are few public charging stations in the Rocket City. Redstone Energy, located at the corner of South Memorial Parkway and Airport Road, has two. The others are at Digium in Cummings Research Park, Landers McLarty Chevrolet and Landers McLarty Nissan.

Sunday’s National Plug In Day event is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees will be able to test drive plug-in electric vehicles from Nissan, GM, Mitsubishi and Fisker.

Pritt bought his plug-in electric-gas hybrid Chevy Volt last December. He said he can drive about 3,000 miles on seven gallons of fuel. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle drives a 2012 Ford Focus Electric donated to the city by Woody Anderson Ford.

via Huntsville electric vehicle enthusiasts will rally Sunday for National Plug In Day |

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$400,000 to start construction of new south Huntsville park

Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick, right, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison County Commission Chairman Mike Gillespie (The Huntsville Times/Glenn Baeske)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A planned 52-acre city park on Chaney Thompson Road in south Huntsville will soon be under construction.

Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick is expected to present city officials with a $400,000 check for the new park at tonight’s City Council meeting (6 p.m. at Huntsville City Hall, 308 Fountain Circle).

The money, from Riddick’s $800,000-a-year county discretionary account, will allow the city to begin building access roads, as well as fenced dog park and bathrooms. Riddick has already paid for fencing along the road, design and survey work.

“It’s time to move some dirt,” Riddick said today, “and this check is essentially to get it kick-started.”

While the dog park will be the main feature initially, future plans call for two lighted multi-purpose sports fields, disc golf course, gym, Babe Ruth baseball field, fitness center and picnic pavilions. The land is on the east side of Chaney Thompson Road, just north of Montessori School of Huntsville.

“We don’t have enough Babe Ruth ballparks or gym space in south Huntsville, so this will be great,” said Riddick.

via $400,000 check will kick-start construction of new south Huntsville park |

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HomeGoods store to open in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — HomeGoods plans to open its new store in Huntsville on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 8 a.m.

The 25,000 square-foot store is in the former Barnes & Noble space in University Plaza at University Drive and Old Monrovia Road.

The retailer offers furniture, rugs, lamps, kitchen and dining items and bedding at discounted prices.

“We are excited to open a new HomeGoods in Huntsville,” said HomeGoods President Ken Canestrari, in a release. “With value playing a critical role in consumers’ shopping decisions, we are confident that our off-price concept of offering high-quality home fashions at incredible values will make HomeGoods a welcome addition to the area.”

HomeGoods, a division of The TJX Companies, operates more than 390 stores, including locations in Birmingham and Hoover.

The Huntsville store is expected to fill about 60 full and part-time positions.

On grand opening day, the first 1,000 shoppers at the Huntsville location will receive a free reusable HomeGoods shopping bag.

via HomeGoods store to open in Huntsville on Sept. 22 |

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Building Home & Garden Show Starts Today!

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — The day before the show was to begin, workers were building a waterfall on one side of the South Hall of the Von Braun Center.

Cars from a termite and pest control company were easing down the other side.

And a Bobcat hauling trees was causing the slab to shake as it rolled toward the Garden Oasis, a 1,000-square-foot outdoor living space.

The Garden Oasis, created by Southern Scape, is among the attractions this weekend at the Building Home & Garden Show at the Von Braun Center South Hall.

The show is today from noon to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Cost is $6 for adults. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

Visit for $1 off admission coupons.

“We are basically putting in a whole back yard in 2 1/2 days,” said Greg Shaw, co-owner of Southern Scape.

Building on the Garden Oasis began Tuesday afternoon. It was scheduled to be completed Thursday afternoon.

There was much to install: 15 tons of rock, 500 square feet of brick flooring and 14 trees, each 14 to 18 feet tall.

There were also 200 boxwoods, a fountain, a reflecting pool, and hundreds of ground cover plants (ivy and sedum, Shaw said).

“We created it in-house, just for this show after getting with Lynn (Kilgore) and the homebuilders,” Shaw said. “We worked with Lynn to come up with this design.”

Kilgore, the executive director of the Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association, oversees the show, now in its third year.

“We’re larger than last year,” she said. “We’re a growing show.”

More than 100 companies will be represented at the show. Among them are companies that produce countertops, storm shelters and building products.

There are also landscaping companies, along with builders and remodelers.

“The principal goal is to emphasize there are many things you can do in the fall, just as you can do in the spring, with your home and remodeling projects,” Kilgore said.

The show will have daily seminars on landscaping, storm shelters, energy efficiency, kitchen design, and selecting a builder and remodeler.

There will also be a $3,000 backyard giveaway, which includes products for home and outdoor living areas.

Kilgore said “just under 5,000″ people attended last year’s show; she’s hoping for more this year.

via More than 100 companies to be represented at Building Home & Garden Show |


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Kitchens for CASA

Tasia Malakasis will have her kitchen in the Village of Providence open to benefit CASA. Michael Mercier/The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Six kitchens are on the tour. Two are in the Village of Providence. One belongs to the owner of Belle Chevre, a creamery in Elkmont.

Tasia Malakasis views her kitchen much like her cheeses.

“Accessible,” as she puts it.

Her kitchen at her home on Braxton Street is among the kitchens to be featured in Kitchens for CASA, one of the traditional fundraisers for the Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound.

The tour will be Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour at any of the tour homes.

Advance tickets are available at Lawren’s, Portobello, Belk at Parkway Place Mall, Sweet CeCe’s, and the CASA office.

“Fundraisers like Kitchens for CASA make it possible for CASA of Madison County to take care of neighbors in our community who are aging or homebound by providing needed services like wheelchair ramps, grab bars, handrails, and durable medical equipment,” said Ann Anderson, the executive director of CASA of Madison County.

Jessica Bumbalough, CASA’s services and volunteer coordinator, says it’s “certainly the longest-running” fundraiser for the organization. It’s the 21st year of Kitchens for CASA, she said.

“The work in these kitchens is top notch,” Bumbalough said. “People are always looking for new things to do in their favorite room, which is usually the kitchen.”

And there is also the curiosity factor.

What are some of the newest trends? What do others have in their homes?

The tour consists of two homes in the Village of Providence, three in south Huntsville and one downtown.

They are: the Howard home on Echols Avenue; the Pols home Macon Drive; Beth Griggs’ home on Scenic Drive; the Van Hoosers’ home on Thayer Street; and Beverly Farrington’s home on Big Cove Road.

Farrington is the owner of Accents of the South. Guests at Farrington’s home will be treated to an afternoon tea with treats from Emma’s Tea Room and SwEEt Thang Cookies, provided by friends of CASA.

At Malakasis’ home, there will be Belle Chevre cheese samples. The cheeses are stocked in Malakasis’ refrigerator with glass front doors.

via Six kitchens to be featured in Kitchens for CASA |

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