Tag Archives: Huntsville

Huntsville awarded Wall Street’s top credit rating

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Wall Street continues to hold the City of Huntsville in high regard when it comes to financial management.

Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s both awarded Huntsville their best-possible triple-A credit rating last week – the sixth straight year the Rocket City has held that distinction.

A city’s credit ranking is based on a variety of factors including past financial management, current debt and economic strength. Cities rated triple-A tend to have a reasonable amount of debt and significant cash reserves to help weather economic downturns.

A stellar credit rating allows Huntsville to borrow money at the most favorable interest rates.

Tommy Battle Will Not Run For GovernorHuntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. (Eric Schultz / eschultz@al.com)

“We have worked hard to remain fiscally responsible in a time of shrinking resources,” Mayor Tommy Battle said in a news release. “We have put our dollars into our most critical needs – public safety, education, infrastructure and economic development – and we are being rewarded with an influx of new industries and expanding businesses that desire a secure, healthy community.”

The positive credit ratings are also a result of strong teamwork between Battle’s administration and the Huntsville City Council, he said.

The Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s ratings were issued ahead of a city plan to refinance about $60 million in old debt at today’s lower interest rates. Finance Director Randy Taylor estimates the refinancing will save taxpayers about $4 million.

Moody’s said Huntsville’s strengths include a stable financial position, above-average wealth levels, below-average unemployment and a large, regionally important tax base with significant government presence.

Updated at 10:32 a.m. to add that this is the sixth straight year Huntsville has been rated triple-A

Huntsville awarded Wall Street’s top credit rating ahead of $60M refinancing | AL.com.

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Fall Home & Garden Show – Huntsville, Alabama

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Fall Home & Garden Show? – Huntsville, Alabama.

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Huntsville/Madison County residential median sales price establishes new peak

Click here to view or print the full quarterly report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Median Price.jpg
View full sizeHuntsville/Madison County median sales price up 8% from 2nd Quarter 2013. Infograph courtesy of North Al MLS & ACRE. All rights reserved.

Pricing: According to the North Alabama Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the median sales price in the Huntsville/Madison County reached a new peak during the 2nd quarter at $175,633 which is also 8.0 percent from the same quarter in 2013. Historical data indicates that second quarter median price in 2014 increased by 4.9 percent from the most recent 3-year average and 4.0 percent from the 5-year quarterly average (’09-’13).

Supply: The housing inventory average during the second quarter was 3,215 units, an increase of 4.8 percent from the same period in 2013 and .8 percent below the second quarter peak in 2010 (3,240 units). There was 7.1 months of housing supply (6 months considered equilibrium during 2nd quarter) in the second quarter 2014 versus 6.6 months of supply last year, an increase of 7.1 percent. Historical data indicates that the second quarter inventory-to-sales ratio in 2014 decreased 1.4 percent from the 5-year average (7.2 months – best market performance in Alabama during this window) and decreased 2.8 percent from the 3-year average.

Demand: Residential sales during the second quarter by Huntsville standards can only be described as sluggish, a small slip of 2.4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. The second quarter sales remain 28.7 percent off the peak experienced in 2003 when 1,912 units were sold. Historical data indicates that second quarter sales in 2014 increased by 6.6 percent from the most recent 3-year average (’11-’13) and 5.5 percent from the 5-year quarterly average (’09-’13).

The Huntsville/Madison Residential Quarterly Report is provided compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

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The Huntsville/Madison County Residential Quarterly 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 Quarterly Report: “2nd quarter median sales price establishes new peak” | AL.com.

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Huntsville Only Alabama city to make ConventionSouth’s 2014 list of the best ‘Southern Hospitality Cities’

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Only one Alabama city made ConventionSouth magazine’s new 2014 list of the best “Southern Hospitality Cities.”

Huntsville, known for its technology, space and defense industries, was one of 16 cities in the U.S. South handpicked by ConventionSouth’s editors using reader, fan and follower nominations. The magazine also looked at cities that offer a:

• attractive, clean, safe and welcoming community
• charming, authentic and unique attractions, restaurants, shopping and recreation
• community-wide service standards with polite hospitality workers
• helpful Convention and Visitors Bureau with group travel and event planning services

For a city to make the list, ConventionSouth Editor/Associate Publisher Marlane Bundock said the “community as a whole must possess several defining qualities that collectively present an all-around welcoming spirit toward visitors.”

“These qualities include a genuinely cordial state-of-mind of the residents that cooperatively becomes a community-wide state-of-being,” she said. “This is further enhanced by a charming appearance and unique attractions such as one-of-a-kind restaurants—whether they are fine-dining establishments or greasy spoons. Meeting planners from across the country require destinations that meet these standards and therefore, look to the South over other regions in order hold more successful, memorable events.”

Other cities to make the list include Amarillo, Texas; Dalton, Ga.; Gaithersburg, Md.; Greensboro, N.C.; Hampton, Va.; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Hilton Head, S.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Lafayette, La.; Lexington, K.Y.; Norman, Okla.; Pine Bluff, Ark.; St. Augustine, Fla.; Springfield, Mo.; and Summersville, W.Va.

Click here to check out the list.

Only 1 Alabama city makes ConventionSouth’s 2014 list of the best ‘Southern Hospitality Cities’ | AL.com.

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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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Huntsville – A City On the Rise

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/97377704″>Huntsville – A City On the Rise</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user22289888″>Red Brick Strategies</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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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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