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Huntsville/Madison County residential home sales up 16% in April; YTD up 9%

By Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE)  Follow on Twitter
on May 20, 2015 at 11:35 AM, updated May 20, 2015 at 11:36 AM

Click here to view or print the entire April report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Sales: According the North Alabama MLS, Huntsville/Madison County residential sales totaled 465 units in April, an increase in sales growth of 16.5 percent or 66 units from the same period last year. This represents the best sales results for the month of April since 2007. Year-to-date sales through April are 9.1 percent above 2014.

Forecast: Closed transactions in April were 68 units or 17.1 percent above the Center’s monthly forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through April projected 1,395 closed transactions while the actual sales were 1,562 units, a favorable cumulative variance of 11.9 percent.

Historical sales.jpg
Huntsville/Madison County residential sales improve 16% from last April. Inventory is 5% below monthly peak established in 2014. Infograph provided by ACRE. All rights reserved.

Supply: Huntsville housing inventory totaled 3,061 units, a decrease of 4.5 percent or 144 units from last April and 1.3 percent above the 5-year April average of 3,102 units. New home inventory is up 5.1 percent year-over-year while existing single family inventory is down 6.5 percent.

The inventory-to-sales ratio in April was 6.6 months of housing supply (4.6 months for new construction – up 31.4% from April’14 when it stood at 3.5 months). The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be approximately 7.0+/- months during April (NSA). Huntsville was again one of Alabama’s most balanced markets in April. The market in April experienced a 2.3 percent (68 units) increase in inventory when compared to the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data indicating April inventory on average (‘1€0-’14) increases by 4.0 percent from the month of March.

Demand: Residential sales in April slipped .6 percent from the prior month which was much stronger than normal. This direction contrast with seasonal patterns and historical data indicating that April sales, on average (’10-‘€14), increase from the month of March by 5.2 percent. New home sales remain somewhat soft, down 20.6 percent from April 2014. Existing single family home sales accounted for 75 percent (up from 65% in April’14) of total sales, new homes sales accounted for 21 percent (down from 32% in April’14) while condos were 4 percent of sales (up from 3% in April’14).

Pricing: The Huntsville median sales price in April was $171,000, a slip of 2.3 percent from April 2014 but 7.9 percent above the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data (’10-’14) indicating that the April median sales price on average increases from the month of March by .3 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: “The spring and summer home buying season has gotten off to a stronger start, reflected in some of the improvement in consumer housing sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The share of consumers who intend to own rather than rent their next home rebounded after a two-month slide. Meanwhile, home price growth expectations strengthened to the strongest pace since last October. Nevertheless, consumers continue to express concerns about the recent weakening economic conditions…When we consider both the continued caution of consumers and the positive start to the year, we believe that these results support our expectation that 2015 will be a year of modest growth in housing activity.” For full report, go HERE.

Huntsville/Madison County area residential sales up 16% in April; YTD sales up 9% | AL.com.

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Village of Providence tapped in Fortune Magazine article


Village of Providence in Huntsville. (Bob Gathany | bgathany@al.com)


Lucy Berry | lberry@al.comBy Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com  Follow on Twitter

The Village of Providence in Huntsville got a shoutout Wednesday in a Fortune Magazine article on new home trends for 2015.

The live-work-play development off U.S. 72 was praised for being a walkable community with a mix of uses. The mention comes after the Village of Providence was named the 2014 Community of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders.

Village of Providence, developed by brothers David and Todd Slyman, also won the Platinum Award for Best Mixed-Use Community.

” … The award highlights the growing awareness of not only the financial, but the social and even emotional benefits of living in a community with walkable streets, multiple modes of transportation, and a mix of uses,” said Fortune writer Marianne Cusato.

Click here to read the article.

The Village of Providence hosted a ribbon cutting last month for its new Phase VIII expansion, which represents a $25 million investment and will create 52 custom homes.

Only one-third of the Village has been built, and more than $350 million has been invested since its inception. The Village of Providence now has more than 200 homes, 226 apartments, two national hotels, several restaurants and businesses, and over 450 workers.

Cusato said demand for homes in walkable communities like Village of Providence is growing, but the supply is short.

“We’ll see this trend continue — and more and more builders and developers will follow the lead of the Village of Providence,” she said.

Village of Providence tapped in Fortune Magazine new home trends article | AL.com.

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Huntsville’s History and Mystery 2015 Tour

The History & Mystery Tour is a downtown stroll on Sunday, May 17


Proceeds go to the restoration efforts at the Historic Maple Hill Cemetery.

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This Month in Real Estate – May 2015

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North Alabama housing market ‘one of the most stable’ in Southeast

Rob Hale, president of MarketGraphics Southeast, speaks to Huntsville-area realtors and home builders April 2 at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. (Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com)

Rob Hale, president of MarketGraphics Southeast, speaks to Huntsville-area realtors and home builders April 2 at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. (Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com)

Lucy Berry | lberry@al.comBy Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com
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More residents in the Huntsville area are seeking apartment communities with higher-end amenities as the housing market recovers.

That was one of the talking points Thursday during a 2015 north Alabama housing forecast presentation by MarketGraphics Southeast President Rob Hale at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. The annual breakfast event for area realtors and homebuilders was sponsored by BancorpSouth.

Hale said the recession sparked a shift in the number of north Alabama millennials, retirees and move-down buyers interested in new apartment projects.

“The recession started it because people lost their homes,” he said. “They were able to rent, but not buy, and I think that started a trend of new apartment construction and it built on that.”

Nationwide trend

The movement toward apartments isn’t just affecting Huntsville, Hale said, but the entire U.S. He said the developments are especially attractive to the under-30 crowd that’s not as interested in purchasing a new or existing home as past generations were.

Apartments are also a good option for retirees who need smaller housing, but still want luxury, an audience member pointed out.

“There’s the pool, there’s somebody else mowing the grass, there’s really great amenities with these new developments,” Hale said. “It’s attractive to people who at some point might have been first-time homebuyers.”

The local market, which includes Madison, Limestone, Morgan and Marshall counties, is the picture of stability, Hale told the crowd. The four-county area had 2,470 building permits last year, down slightly from 2,501 the previous year and 2,518 in 2011.

Market vibrancy

While north Alabama led the Southeast for several years in market vibrancy (new home permits divided by total population), Hale said that’s no longer the case today. Markets like Jacksonville, Fla., Nashville and Charleston, S.C., are experiencing more vibrant housing markets right now.

Huntsville hasn’t always followed the national trend, he said, and the market doesn’t encounter the same peaks and valleys as other places sometimes do.

“You did not experience the wave of destruction that took place in a lot of places in the Southeast,” he said. “The coastal Florida market was devastated by the recession. This just illustrates how stable the market is in north Alabama.”

The area had 15,000 vacant developed lots in February 2011. Since then, that figure has declined to roughly 11,500. There are 546 homes under construction in the four-county area, Hale said.

With companies like Polaris and Remington Outdoor promising thousands of jobs in Huntsville over the next several years, Hale hopes the local housing market enters a phase when new jobs have a direct link to the construction of new houses.

Jobs equals housing

Hale said the market needs about 1.25 new jobs for every building permit issued in order to sustain healthy housing activity.

“Of all the markets in the Southeast over the years, the Huntsville market has been one of the most stable, even through the recession,” he said. “Our hope is that as new jobs arrive in Huntsville, it will result in an improvement in the new home housing market.”

Hale praised the area’s public leadership in attracting new companies and diversifying the economy. “That’s certainly not true everywhere,” he added.

Penny Billings, division president for BancorpSouth, said her biggest takeaway from Thursday’s event was “location and where you’re building.”

“We have seen some pretty good vibrancy right now in new home sales,” she said. “Some of our builders are reporting that their sales are a lot higher than they’ve been.”

North Alabama housing market ‘one of the most stable’ in Southeast, even through recession | AL.com.

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Huntsville among top 10 Southern cities for jobs right now


Lucy Berry | lberry@al.comBy Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com
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Two Alabama metros are among the top cities in the South for job creation and hiring in 2015, according to a new study by ZipRecruiter.

The hiring and job market data company released a report this week of the top 20 Southern cities with the greatest 2015 hiring demand and growth potential. Cities were ranked using ZipRecruiter’s Hiring Demand Index, which is based on relative monthly job growth percentage measured across the U.S.

Huntsville came in at No. 9, while Mobile fell at No. 19. Here is the full list:

  1. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fla.
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington, Texas
  3. Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, Texas
  4. Richmond, Va.
  5. Jacksonville, Fla.
  6. Memphis, Tenn.
  7. Roanoke, Va.
  8. Greenville/Mauldin/Easley, S.C.
  9. Huntsville
  10. Orlando/Kissimmee, Fla.
  11. Cape Coral/Fort Myers, Fla.
  12. Durham, N.C.
  13. Greensboro/High Point, N.C.
  14. Winchester, Va.
  15. Spartanburg, S.C.
  16. El Paso, Texas
  17. Danville, Va.
  18. Lubbock, Texas
  19. Mobile
  20. Myrtle Beach/Conway/North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Click here for ZipRecruiter’s report.

ZipRecruiter writer Kylie Anderson, who praised Huntsville’s military and aerospace technology, called the city “the center for NASA rocket-propulsion research.”

“The city also supports commercial technology companies and other engineering research,” she said.

Huntsville’s top five industries and their most in-demand position are:
  • Healthcare: Healthcare Representative
  • Trucking/Transportation: Class A CDL Driver
  • Engineering: Applications Engineer
  • Admin/Secretarial: Customer Service Retail
  • Manufacturing/Operations: Production Manager

Madison County’s February unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, down from 5.6 the previous month. Joblessness was also down in Mobile, from 7.1 percent unemployment to 6.4 in February. To see how your county fared, click here.

[Related: Top 10 Alabama occupations with the most online job postings in February]

Visit AL.com/jobs to search more than 2,000 listings in Alabama.

Huntsville, Mobile among top 20 Southern cities for jobs right now | AL.com.

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Madison mayor outlines road expansions, home and building development, new public facilities in State of the City address


It was a sold-out speech at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Friday night as Madison Mayor Troy Trulock took center stage for his State of the City address.

Most of the mayor’s speech was spent on accolades, education and points of pride in his city. After that, Trulock gave some insight into what lies ahead for Madison with a taste of the projects that will go into play in 2015.

Some of the major developments involve improving Madison’s roads. For example, a five-lane expansion of County Line Road is being accomplished through a partnership between Madison and the state of Alabama. Trulock estimates construction will begin in the next month or two.

There’s also the continuing six-lane development of U.S. 72 from County Line Road to Providence. This is about a five and a half mile stretch, which Trulock said is “not in good shape right now.” He said the continuing effort to fix it has been acknowledged through a partnership between Madison, Huntsville, Madison County and the state.

“Right now if you drive on Highway 72, sometimes it turns into a parking lot. We’re going to fix that,” he said.

The final major road project planned this year is to open an interchange between Interstate 565 and County Line Road, another city and state partnership. The mayor expressed how the need for this interchange is a shared sentiment for those who drive through.

The discussion then turned from roads to buildings. Trulock said more homes and subdivisions will be coming in this year. As such, there will be development of the Village at Oakland Springs outside Browns Ferry Road. This residential and business district will be about two-thirds the size of the Village of Providence and is expected to be reminiscent of its setup. Trulock said the Village at Oakland Springs will hold offices and retail in close proximity to small, medium and large size homes.

A new library could be on the way too. Trulock said the 35,000 square foot plans should be a large improvement over the 15,000 square foot library on Hughes Road. He said crowding has been a problem with the branch’s limited size.

Plans are also being put together for a new recreation building, which would include an indoor pool and basketball and volleyball courts among other athletic facilities. Construction could begin over the summer.

“I know as a coach and as a parent that we need a lot of extra recreation space,” he said, adding, “Definite need for our community.”

Ground should be broken on this project by summer.

In line with the economic front, the continuing development of Town Madison is expected to bring in 1,600 new jobs on top of 1,000 jobs at Intergraph.

Trulock also promised a surprise on the way in terms of economic development. He teased two projects to be placed near the city’s center but could not reveal what they are yet. He said the first of these projects will likely be announced within the next month or two and the other in the next three or four months.

Madison mayor outlines road expansions, home and building development, new public facilities in State of the City address | AL.com.

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