Alabama’s strength in the real estate market continues to make national headlines

2020 was a record-breaking year for the U.S. housing market, and Alabama was no exception. Investment in the state generated a lot of attention from publications around the globe as a variety of Alabama destinations appear at the top of the list for booming markets.

Here are a few examples of Alabama destinations identified by industry leaders as ones to watch:

Lake Guntersville

As the pandemic has shifted interest to more rural, scenic driven destinations, places like Marshall County, Alabama, have surfaced to the top of real estate searches. According to Market Watch, Marshall County led the country in the percentage of increased searches for micropolitan communities. The area surrounding Lake Guntersville saw an increase of 2817% on the Redfin.com website in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019.

Montgomery

Appearing in two notable publications, Alabama’s capital city has been recognized for its affordability, promising job market and appeal to travelers. Forbes Advisor looked at 100 metro areas with a population of at least 100,000 to identify the top 10 most affordable cities for homebuyers. Appearing at No. 8, Montgomery offers the lowest median annual real estate taxes and is poised for growth based on continued investment from the aerospace and automotive employers. In addition, the continued expansion of Montgomery’s social justice attractions has drawn attention from Bloomberg who has listed it as one of the best places to travel in 2021.

Tuscaloosa

Leading the national trend in real estate is the continued growth of vacation rental property investments. According to the real estate education publication Fortune Builders, Tuscaloosa is No. 2 in the country on the list of places to buy a vacation rental property. Citing the year-over-year growth in tourism both inside and outside of football season, this Alabama city bodes well for investors looking for potential profits in rental investments.

Gulf Shores / Orange Beach


No stranger to second home real estate investors, the beautiful beaches of Alabama’s gulf coast have been an attractive destination for years.  In spite of the changes 2020 brought to the investment landscape, this area proves to be dependable for travel-hungry tourists. Air DNA tracks the performance data of over 10 million AirB&B and VRBO vacation rentals and published a list of the best places to buy short-term rental property in the U.S. When it comes to areas with over 1,000 active short-term rentals, Gulf Shores / Orange Beach scored number eight for its annual revenue potential and annual revenue growth.

Dauphin Island

As reported by CNBC, the vacation rental management website Vacasa has rolled out its annual report highlighting the best U.S. destinations to invest in a vacation rental property. The study analyzed home sales and rental data in vacation areas around the country. For the second year in a row, the “sunset capital of Alabama” has made the list.

Birmingham

The Magic City appeared on several real estate investment lists in 2020.  In its analysis of America’s hottest real estate zip codes, Forbes lists Birmingham first on the list. The analysis uses data from Zillow.com to determine America’s fastest-growing zip codes by home sale price appreciation. Property Wire lists Birmingham as one of five on its 2020 best areas to invest and the international publication Global Investments lists it as the next U.S. property investment hotspot. Additionally, Travel and Leisure magazine includes Birmingham as of the best places to travel in 2021.

Huntsville

Alabama’s Rocket City made the list of emerging real estate markets of 2020 according to Mashvisor, an analytics service company focused on providing investors with property information. Huntsville is noted as one of the markets leading the economic recovery in the nation.

Auburn


Housing Wire, a digital publication focussed on mortgage and housing markets placed Auburn on the 2020 best locations for investment property. The only Alabama city to make the rankings, Auburn was listed in second place for the highest population growth and first place for employment growth.

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

18 mins ago

Tuberville delivers for Alabama’s defense priorities as NDAA passes committee

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 reported out of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Wednesday night with U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) securing amendments during the markup process which will play a crucial role in benefiting Alabama’s defense installations and strengthening United States military readiness.

Since assuming office earlier this year, Alabama’s junior senator has made it a top priority to advocate for the position Alabama holds in supporting initiatives that are vital in protecting U.S. national security. Tuberville says he believes it is critical that the state of Alabama holds a seat at the table in defense appropriations discussions.

“I’ve made it my mission to visit our commanders in the field and Alabama’s military communities to hear from our service men and women directly so I can be their voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said Tuberville. “This year, in every vote I cast during the National Defense Authorization Act, I asked if it would be in the best interest of our country and responsible to the taxpayer. I’m proud of how Alabama supports our military and I’ve encouraged my colleagues in the Senate to rise to meet the grave threats facing our nation.”

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Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the top Republican on the Committee and SASC ranking member, praised Tuberville for his focus on supporting national defense objectives.

“Senator Tuberville has made important contributions to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act as a first-year member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said Inhofe. “His provisions will strengthen our national defense by leveraging the expertise and abilities of Alabama’s military installations and industry, including world-class shipbuilding, a vibrant defense workforce, and Army modernization, Space Force implementation, and missile defense efforts.”

The following is a summary of funding priorities secured by Tuberville in the NDAA for fiscal year 2022. The objectives relate to an array of funding areas that will serve to benefit Alabama’s military installations and its robust aerospace and defense industry:

● Increased overall Department of Defense (DOD) topline by 3%
● Prioritized funding for hypersonic development and testing with an emphasis on Huntsville’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
● Targeted funding for further development of high-energy lasers (HEL)
● Accelerated investment in satellite systems to address cyber vulnerabilities in support of the Space Command
● Secured a new Force reserve component within the National Guard for the U.S. Space Force
● Authorized funding toward supporting repair and maintenance for Dannelly Field in Montgomery
● Provided authorization of two Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels in support of the Gulf’s shipbuilding industry
● Secured funding toward resources for a second Guided Missile Destroyer, fulfilling the U.S. Navy’s top funding priority
● Fought for small business innovators by advocating for public-private partnership to incentivize employee ownership for government defense contractors
● Sought $6.6M toward the improvement of Fort Rucker’s dilapidated barracks

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News

14 hours ago

Taziki’s founder launches new Greek cuisine concept in Birmingham area

Greek Street is a new addition to the state’s fast-casual restaurant market.

Inspired by the fast-paced approach to food found in the urban areas of Greece, Alabamian Keith Richards recently opened the first location for Greek Street in Hoover’s Inverness Village shopping center.

Richards has taken his more than two decades of Mediterranean cooking and developed a Greek street food offering through this first test kitchen concept. He hopes to expand Greek Street across the United States.

“We are thrilled to open our first location ever in the Birmingham area,” said Richards in a release from the company. “Our mission with this new concept is to provide nutritious, fresh greek street food at economic prices.”

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Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato welcomed Richards and his staff to the city as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new location.

“The Hoover community is excited to welcome the first Greek Street location as our new neighbor,” Brocato stated. “The City of Hoover is known for its unique and diverse restaurants; Greek Street is the perfect addition.”

Upon entering the restaurant customers will enjoy the festive stringed lights and a map of places the Richards family has visited in Greece. Abstract Greek-inspired hand paintings drawn by Keith’s daughter, Charlie, adorn the walls.

Customers have the option of utilizing Greek Street’s convenient App-Thru service which is designed to assist with quick order pickup. Customers can download the app, order their meal before they arrive and pull up to receive it through the App-Thru window. The restaurant also offers curbside takeout and delivery options.

The restaurant is hiring for several positions including cooks, shift leaders and cashiers. Applicants can apply by visiting Greek Street’s website.

Menu items at Greek Street include a variety of appetizers, salads, gyros, bowls, kids’ meals and desserts.

14 hours ago

Tracie West to seek second term on Alabama State Board of Education

Alabama State Board of Education member Tracie West on Thursday announced that she will run for a second term on the state board of education. A Republican, West was elected in 2018 after serving nearly 10 years on the Auburn City Schools Board of Education.

In announcing her reelection bid, West pointed to her record as a state school board member.

“When I ran in 2018, I pledged to push for a master plan for our state school board,” said West. “Now, for the first time, our state board of education has a 5-year master plan designed by citizens from across Alabama. We finally have a blueprint for how we will improve our education system and increase student achievement.”

West expressed her desire to ensure Alabama’s public schools remain open for in-person learning.

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“I will continue to fight for our schools and aggressively advocate for our students,” vowed West. “Before COVID hit, we were really starting to make good progress for our schools. Right now, we’ve got to make sure that our schools stay open and that we help students catch up,” she stated.

West noted her opposition to the implementation of Critical Race Theory.

“In addition to the pandemic recovery, there are many other emerging issues. I am strongly against the teaching of Critical Race Theory in our K-12 classrooms. Critical Race Theory is not part of our state curriculum and I intend to keep it that way. I’m not going to let the federal government use grants or other education funding to pressure our state into teaching critical race theory or any other liberal attempt to promote socialism or ideologies that don’t reflect our Alabama values,” concluded West.

Tracie West is a native of Lee County and is a 1991 graduate of Auburn University. A year after graduation, Tracie met and married her husband, Lt. Colonel Paul West (US Army Retired).

In 1997, Tracie began operating PakMail, a retail shopping business which she grew to two locations before selling the company in 2018. Tracie is also a licensed Realtor. The couple has three daughters: Lydia, Marion and Kathryn. They attend Church of the Highlands, Auburn campus.

Tracie has invested her time in the community by serving in leadership positions with the Lee County Salvation Army Board, the Lee County Youth Development Center Board, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Board, the Auburn Rotary Club and the Auburn Commercial Development Authority.

Tracie was named the Auburn Chamber of Commerce 2001 Small Business Person of the Year and received the “Spirit of Auburn” award in 2008, in recognition of her community service.

District 2 of the Alabama State Board of Education covers all or parts of Barbour, Chambers, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Coosa, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Randolph, Russell and Tallapoosa Counties.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News

16 hours ago

Aderholt: Woke liberal culture wants to destroy the fabric of sports

There are few things in everyday life that teach our kids life lessons better than sports. As they grow up and play for different teams they learn about commitment, hard work, how to win with grace, and how to pick yourself up and move on after a loss. These lessons stay with them forever, and as a parent I know how valuable those experiences are.

This is why we have to ensure sports, especially high school sports, remain fair and free of political influence. When Title IX was enacted, it did just that for female athletes. It gave them equal opportunity to compete and provided protection for girls’ sports across the country. Title IX also created more pathways for girls to become college athletes, giving many the collegiate chance they wouldn’t have had without sports.

But now, woke liberal culture has set aim on destroying the fabric of sports by pushing for transgender athletes to compete against girls. Across the country more and more states are passing laws allowing this to happen, and it is taking away opportunities and equality for females.

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In Connecticut, two transgender track runners that are biologically male won 15 high school state championships while racing against biological females. In a mixed martial arts fight, a transgender fighter that is biologically male fought a biological female, winning by nearly killing the female fighter and fracturing her skull. And now, a transgender weightlifter who competed against men until 2013 will compete against women in the Olympics, which they qualified for by outlifting all the female competitors by a whopping 40 pounds.

The problems here are obvious. Not only are opportunities to get scholarships and accolades diminished, but the safety and wellbeing of these girls is at stake. It’s hard enough staying healthy while competing in physical sports, but when the opponent can take you down with ease that task becomes nearly impossible.

Additionally, one can see how allowing transgender athletes to compete against girls ultimately diminishes the values learned from equal competition. Rather than learning lessons about life, they will learn that the political agenda of the far-left trumps fair play, and that they will use people as pawns in order to reshape society as they see fit. The confidence, trust, and toughness girls are supposed to learn through sports will be a thing of the past.

Those on the left will try and downplay all of this and say it’s really not a big deal, and this is just a “culture war” that conservatives created. But the fact of the matter is this: girls are now at risk because far left policies are eroding our values.

And this argument really has nothing to do with transgender rights or gender dysphoria. Simply put, we shouldn’t be imposing a sports ceiling that will make girls feel less valuable. If we are going to allow biological males to compete against biological females, we might as well tell young women, “don’t even bother.”

Just watch the Olympics this year and see for yourself. Witness what happens when a transgender athlete competes in weightlifting against biological females. And see how the left will celebrate it all and tell our kids that it was heroic.

17 hours ago

Will the SEC shine on Texas and Oklahoma?

Big oil is under attack. So it is doing what any other group would do to protect itself from regulators and turn a huge profit: it’s trying to play football in the SEC.

The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma want to join college football’s one sure thing and true power conference.

College football realignment rumors whip the sport’s fans into a frenzy, without fail.

The grass in the new yard is always greener for the schools looking to make the move. For the conference taking in the new schools, it’s like adding a pool in the backyard. They think of how much more enjoyable Saturdays are going to be and the added value to the house. Once the novelty wears off, people usually find out what a pain it is to take care of a pool. Remember when the SEC was excited about having South Carolina as a new member?

These are very different programs, though. Maybe it has reached the point where the oil money at Texas and Oklahoma has just about had enough. It could be they are tired of taking a back seat to schools in the SEC they once viewed as nothing more than roughnecks.

While the decision-makers inside these institutions are really the only people who know what will happen, there are still a few things we can say for certain from the outside looking in.

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Greg Sankey will make the right decision

Those advocating for some kind of national college football czar need to recognize that the sport already has one. His name is Greg Sankey, and he is the commissioner of the SEC. Sankey assumes control over college football in much the same way the President of the United States is regarded as the leader of the free world.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Sankey single-handedly saved the 2020 season. If Sankey believes it is in the best interest of the SEC for Texas and Oklahoma to gain membership in the conference, can you guess what is going to happen?

The better question is if he thinks it is, in fact, in the conference’s best interest. We are talking about a conference which has dominated the last 15 years on the field and in the revenue department.

Is adding two more schools a necessity or a luxury? Sankey undoubtedly knows the answer to that question.

Sure, the member schools get to vote. But Sankey has earned the trust and credibility to steer the process.

Texas A&M is not happy

This is not exactly breaking news nor thoughtful analysis. They’ve said so.

The Aggies fled the Big 12 for more money — and to get away from the Longhorns.

Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork did not hesitate to say so when asked.

Texas A&M’s camp felt dismayed enough by the expansion momentum that it leaked the information in an effort to derail the process.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher was prepared when he was asked at SEC Media Days about Texas wanting into the SEC.

“I bet they do,” Fisher snickered.

He went on to brag about the strength of a conference which has won 11 of the last 14 national championships.

But 11 of 14 is an important equation for another reason. SEC bylaws require 11 of 14 teams to approve the addition of new members. No doubt Texas A&M is trying to whip votes against Texas from within the “No-Instate Rivals” caucus. Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina have a long-standing pact to prevent their instate rivals — Georgia Tech, FSU, Louisville and Clemson — from becoming SEC programs.

If the Aggies can get three of the four to hold, then all this expansion talk is pointless.

Negotiating tactics rule the day

Legendary college football commentator Tony Barnhart thinks Texas and Oklahoma’s exit from the Big 12 is a known fact.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Texas has flirted with leaving before and was welcomed back with open arms.

If someone else other than Texas A&M leaked the expansion talks, then one might conclude the whole thing is a ploy by Texas and Oklahoma to get more money out of the Big 12’s next television contract.

Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported that Texas and Oklahoma planned to notify the Big 12 next week that the schools would not renew grant-of-rights contracts with the conference. This is the lawyer’s way of saying, “Bye. Last one to leave, flip the lights off.”

One thing Barnhart is correct about is that there will not be any “no” votes if the SEC takes big oil in.

It sounds like votes are still being counted, though.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia