Alabama residential sales in October continued to gradually improve, up 8.9 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Through October, sales are up 10.6 percent year-over-year and sixty percent of local markets report positive sales growth compared to October 2012.
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Two North Alabama schools are among six in the state and 286 in the nation that were today named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2013.
Walnut Grove Elementary School in New Market and Holy Spirit Regional Catholic School in Huntsville were on the listannounced today by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Other Alabama schools on the list were:
Holtville High School in Deatsville
Ramsey Alternative High School in Birmingham
W. H. Council Traditional School in Mobile
West Jefferson Elementary School in Quinton
The National Blue Ribbon Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools in which students have very high-level performance or where significant improvements in student achievement have been made.
“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” Duncan said in a news release today. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the schools are honored in one of two categories: “Exemplary High Performing” and “Exemplary Improving.”
In the first category, the schools rate among their state’s highest performing schools. The second category is for schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from “disadvantaged backgrounds” and demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement.
All six Alabama schools were on the “Exemplary High Performing” list.
Nominations for the awards come from top education officials in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education.
The winners, 236 public and 50 private schools, will be honored at a recognition ceremony Nov. 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C., the Department of Education said.
Bad cell phone coverage won’t be an issue when hanging out in downtown Madison, now that it has free Wi-Fi access to the internet.
The city installed the Wi-Fi router this week atop Main Street Café and has wireless repeaters on light posts to relay the signal throughout the shopping district and adjacent park.
“Originally, the intent was to have Wi-Fi for special events downtown,” said District 3 Councilman D.J. Klein. “Then we thought, if it’s already set up for events, why not do it all the time.”
To access, you simply need to look for the “Madison_FreeWiFi” network on your wireless device’s menu of available networks and add it. It does not require a password.
Klein said bringing the Wi-Fi downtown was a collaborative effort among the city and downtown interests, particularly Cindy Sensenberger, owner of Main Street Café, for allowing the city to use her restaurant to locate equipment. He didn’t recall the cost for the Wi-Fi system but said it was so minimal it didn’t need council approval.
The signal bandwidth can be adjusted, he added, so it will be set a lower range during normal times and increased for big crowds during special events, such as the upcoming Madison Street Festival.
Jason Colee, director of Information Technology for the city, said crews will temporarily install two additional wireless nodes for the street festival to increase speed and then will move them to permanent homes on Main Street and Front Street.
The free Wi-Fi network arrived the same week that the city began advertising for bids to construct the second phase of downtown improvements. The $1.5 million Phase II calls for redirecting drainage away from Church Street, upgrading parking on Garner Street, burying utilities and replacing lighting. Work is expected to begin later this fall.
Huntsville/Madison County residential sales totaled 450 units for the month of September. Residential sales improved 12.8 percent compared to September 2012. Year-to-date sales through September are 10.8 percent ahead of 2012.
Supply: Huntsville housing inventory totaled 3,100 units, an increase of 108 units from last September leading to an increase in new home inventory of 3.6 percent. The inventory-to-sales ratio in September was 6.9 months of housing supply (4.9 months for new construction), a decrease of 8.1 percent from August September 2012. The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be approximately 6-8 months during September. September inventory in Huntsville experienced a .1 percent (3 units) decrease when compared to the prior month. Historical data trends indicate September inventory on average (’08-’12) decreased from the month of August by .8 percent. While the market continues to establish definitive trend lines associated with the impact of sequestration, as it relates to housing demand, keeping an eye on levels of future supply will remain important for the market.
Demand: Existing single family home sales accounted for 74 percent (up from 68% in Sept’12) of total sales, new homes sales accounted for 23 percent (down from 28% in Sept’12) while condos were 3 percent of sales (down from 4% in Sept’12).
As expected, residential sales in September decreased by 18.5 percent from the prior month. Real estate sales volume is seasonal and historical Huntsville data reflects that September sales, on average (’08-’12), increase from the month of August by 10.0 percent.
Pricing: The Huntsville median selling price in September was $178,500, an increase of 9.8 percent from September 2012. This figure is also up 3.1 percent from last month. Historical data (’08-’12) indicates that the September median selling price traditionally decrease from the month of August by 1.9 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. Unlike prior years, a wild card this year is how the market continues to respond to sequestration.
They said it – Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist: “The market may be experiencing a temporary peak (3rd quarter). Rising mortgage interest rates pushed more buyers to close deals (in August), but monthly sales are likely to be uneven 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 Commission, the 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.
For other 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.
CNN Money Magazine has included Madison and Lee counties on a national list of areas with the best employment opportunities, “making them great places to live and work,” the news organization said.
Madison County ranked No. 7 on a list topped by Columbia County, Ga. (No. 1); Rockwall County, Texas (No. 2); Falls Church, Va. (No. 3); Guadalupe County, Texas (No. 4); and St. Johns County, Fla. (No. 5). Lee County ranked No. 22 on the list.
To see the complete “Where the jobs are” list in CNN Money Magazine, visit theirwebsite.
Using data from the U.S. Census and Onboard Informatics, CNN Money reports job growth from 2010 to 2012 was 11.5 percent in the Huntsville/Madison area. CNN Money said “U.S. military and private defense contractors are commanding growth in Madison County.”
“Army base Redstone Arsenal is rapidly expanding its 37,000-strong workforce,” CNN Money Magazine said. “Defense companies Yulista Management Services and SAIC have both snapped up buildings in the Jetplex Industrial Park, adjacent to Huntsville’s International Airport.”
It also praised Cummings Research Park, Toyota’s recent $150 million V-6 engine investment and Carpenter Technology’s new manufacturing facility, which will employ 200 in Limestone County when it is fully operational.
The joblessness rate was 5.5 percent in Madison County and 5 percent in Lee County in May, according to the state Department of Labor.
Lee County, which experienced 9 percent job growth from 2010 to 2012, was lauded for its proximity to Atlanta and Auburn University, “making it an attractive place to do business.”
Automotive engineering firm APR’s decision to expand its Opelika operations, Pharmavite’s new site at Northeast Opelika Industrial Park and GE Aviation’s new facility were mentioned in the magazine ranking.
“Auburn Technology Park West is also home to several growing manufacturers,” CNN Money said. “Donghee America announced plans to make automotive fuel tanks in Auburn and has already begun hiring leaders of the operation, which is expected to employ 80.”
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