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


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/Madison County residential sales up 6% in December; 2013 sales up 8%

Huntsville/Madison County residential sales totaled 384 units for the month of December. Residential sales improved 6.1 percent compared to December 2012. For the year, the market experienced sales growth of 8.3 percent over last year.

Click here to read or print the entire report compliments of American Family Dream.

Historical Sales.jpgView full sizeHuntsville/Madison County residential sales up 6% from last December. Inventory is 4% below December 2010 peak. Infograph provided by ACRE. All rights reserved.

Supply: Huntsville housing inventory totaled 2,871 units, an increase of 159 units from last November, led by an increase in new home inventory of 15.6 percent. The inventory-to-sales ratio in December was 7.5 months of housing supply (4.3 months for new construction – up from 6.2 in November), the same figure as last December. The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be approximately 7-8 months during December. Huntsville and Baldwin County are Alabama’s most balanced markets in 2013. November inventory in Huntsville experienced a 5.2 percent (159 units) decrease when compared to the prior month. Historical data trends indicate December inventory on average (’08-’12) decreased from the month of November by 7.4 percent.

Demand: Existing single family home sales accounted for 65 percent (same as Dec’12) of total sales, new homes sales accounted for 32 percent (down from 33% in Nov’12) while condos were 3 percent of sales (up from 2% in Dec’12).

Residential sales in December increased by 12.0 percent from the prior month. Real estate sales volume is seasonal and historical Huntsville data reflects that December sales, on average (’08-’12), decrease from the month of November by 1.0 percent.

Pricing: The Huntsville median selling price in December was $183,500, a slip of .3 percent from December 2012. In contrast, this figure improved by 14.7 percent from last month. Historical data (’08-’12) indicates that the December median selling price traditionally increase from the month of November by 1.0 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.

Financing Alert – 2014 Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule takes effect on January 10th: “The 2014 QM rule has generated more news, commentary and debate than almost any other mortgage rule in history.” Qualified Mortgage has created a news page to help you keep up with developments in this area.”

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.

via Huntsville/Madison County area residential sales up 6% in December; 2013 sales up 8% | AL.com.

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Alabama October Home Sales Up 9%; YTD Sales Up 11%

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.

Click here to view or print July’s full report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.
Total Sales.jpgView full sizeAlabama home sales up 9% from October 2012. Infograph courtesy of ACRE. All rights reserved.
Supply: The statewide housing inventory in October was 33,352 units, an increase of 1.4 percent from October 2012 but 16.1 percent below the month of October peak in 2007 (39,745 units). There was 9.6 months of housing supply (7-8 months considered equilibrium during month of October) in October 2013 versus 10.3 months of supply in October 2012, a solid decline of 6.9 percent. It is also the first time the market has seen below 10 months in October since 2007 (9.8 months) which is progress. In contrast, October inventory decreased by 1.4 percent over the prior month. This is consistent with historical data that indicates October inventory on average (’08-’12) traditionally decreases from the month of September by 1.3 percent. In contrast to reports of lack of inventory at the national level, Alabama still has a plentiful supply in most local markets. Only 8 of 25 or 32 percent of local markets have single-digit months of housing supply so this is an area where more reduction would be welcome news. With that said, metro markets, representing 70 percent of statewide transactions, are edging closer to equilibrium with 8.5 months of supply.
Demand: As expected, October statewide residential sales slipped 2.3 percent from the prior month. This movement is consistent with seasonal trends & recent historical data that indicates October sales, on average (’08-’12), decrease from the month of September by 7.1 percent. Our YTD forecast for Alabama projected 35,749 closed transactions through October – actual closings were 3.1% above forecast or 36,855 units.
Pricing: The statewide median selling price in October was $130,643, an increase of 2.8 percent from last October. Pricing can fluctuate from month-to-month as the sample size of data (closed transactions) is subject to seasonal buying patterns. The median price also improved 5.4 percent from the prior month. Historical data (’08-’12) reflects that the October median selling price traditionally decrease from the month of September by 1.1 percent. 17 of 25 or 68 percent of local markets experienced positive movement in sales price growth from October 2012.
Local Results: 15 out of the 25 local reporting associations (60% – this is a slip from 72% in October) reflect sales gains from last October. Year-to-date through October, sales in metro markets (up 12% from last year) has outperformed both midsize markets (up 9%) and small markets (up 7%). For the fourth consecutive month, all 5 major metro areas representing 70% of Alabama sales, have positive sales growth for the current month and through the first tent months of the year. Eighty-eight percent (22 of 25) of the local housing markets across Alabama have experienced year-to-date sales growth when compared to 2012 and that is welcome news for Alabama consumers as well our state’s real estate industry. Last month, this figure stood at ninety-two percent.
They said it – Mortgage Bankers Association: “Our forecast for the increase in the purchase market is based on our expectations for ongoing improvements in the broader economy and the jobs market. We are projecting overall economic growth to be 2.4 percent in 2014 and 2.7 percent in 2015, supported mainly by increases in consumer spending and residential fixed investment. GDP growth will remain relatively weak through the end of 2013 and early 2014, at around 2 percent, due to a variety of uncertainties, particularly over US spending and tax policies linked to the debt limit debate. Our expectation is that the economy will grow somewhat faster in the second half of 2014 as some of these issues are resolved.”
This monthly report is provided compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

The Alabama Residential Monthly Report is work product developed in conjunction with the Alabama Association of REALTORS and its local associations.

Alabama Residential Report: October sales up 9%; YTD sales up 11% | AL.com.

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Downtown Madison now a free Wi-Fi hotspot

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.

Downtown Madison now offers free Wi-Fi all along Main Street and the adjacent park. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)

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.

via Downtown Madison now a free Wi-Fi hotspot | al.com.

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Entrepreneur Magazine names Huntsville among top 25 cities for high-tech startups

Huntsville has placed 14th among Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of the 25 best cities in the U.S. for high-tech startups.

A press release from the city states the magazine based its findings on a report from the technology policy coalition Engine and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which is an entrepreneurship research association. Entrepreneur states this particular research project “focuses on high-tech startups specifically, defining them as new businesses with a concentration of employees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle was not surprised at Huntsville’s placement in this category.

“We brand ourselves as a smart city, where technology marries engineering to provide a vibrant, progressive economy,” Battle said in the release. “Through the years of Huntsville’s proven performance in space and missile defense technologies, we have created an ecosystem that is now supporting start-ups in new fields such as energy, cyber and geospatial. It is an exciting time to live, work and play in Huntsville!”

The list of top 25 cities, in order, include:

1. Boulder, Colo.

2. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.

3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

4. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass.

5. Seattle

6. Denver

7. San Francisco

8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.

9. Colorado Springs, Colo.

10. Cheyenne, Wyo.

11. Salt Lake City

12. Corvallis, Ore.

13. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.

14. Huntsville, Ala.

15. Provo-Orem, Utah

16. Bend, Ore.

17. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

18. Missoula, Mont.

19. Grand Junction, Colo.

20. Sioux Falls, S.D.

21. Bethesda-Frederick-Rockville, Md.

22. Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.

23. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.

24. Wilmington, Del.

25. Ames, Iowa

Entrepreneur’s article can be found here.

via Entrepreneur Magazine names Huntsville among top 25 cities for high-tech startups | al.com.

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