The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

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

(Pixabay, Wikicommons, Equal Justice Initiative/Facebook, Julia Sayers Gokhale/YHN)

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:

759

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.

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

(Pixabay, Wikicommons, Equal Justice Initiative/Facebook, Julia Sayers Gokhale/YHN)

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:

759

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.

5 reasons to buy instead of rent in 2021

(Pixabay, YHN)

Whether it’s newlyweds trading apartments for their first home or veteran renters taking advantage of historically low interest rates, 2021 offers a home buying climate that may never be seen again.

Even though you likely know the strong arguments in favor of homeownership: investing for the future; building equity; tax benefits; cost stability; and that intangible pride of owning a home that is uniquely yours, it’s normal to have reservations.

For most Americans, purchasing a home is their largest financial transaction, so here is a 2021 look at the five best reasons to buy instead of rent.

797

1. Pride of Ownership

Image

According to experts at personal finance website TheBalance.com, pride of ownership likely is the number one reason for buying a home.  Owning allows more freedom to create living spaces tailored to personal tastes which renting often prohibits. With families spending more time at home, the pandemic created a desire for homes tailored to meet specific needs like a home office or gym. Families see owning a home as an opportunity for long-term stability allowing them to develop roots in a neighborhood and community. While renters can be uprooted by property owners who choose not to renew leases, homeowners have time to get to know their neighbors, develop lifelong friendships, and invest in schools and organizations that make up the fabric of our society.

2. Equity and Appreciation

Image

A home may be a buyer’s largest single purchase, but it’s most often also the wisest investment. While home values may move up and down, over time, homes tend to appreciate in value overall. Investing in stocks and bonds can be complicated, but home investment is easy to understand. Let’s say you have $25,000 to invest. You can buy stocks that hopefully will gain value. Sell that stock in a few years for $27,500 and you’ve gained $2,500 on which you will owe taxes. Invest the same $25,000 as a down payment on a $250,000 home that later sells for $275,000 and you gain $25,000 and will be exempt from taxes.

As a home appreciates in value so does the homeowner’s equity — the difference between the value of the home and the amount owed on a mortgage. Equity can be used to purchase another home, finance home improvements, or as part of a retirement plan. Since homes tend to increase in value over time, many homeowners view equity as a hedge against inflation. That may be especially important in 2021.  Kiplinger, a publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, predicts inflations will rise by two percent as – hopefully – the pandemic eases.

3. Tax Benefits

Image

Every April 15th, homeowners enjoy tax deductions unavailable to renters. Mortgage interest, property taxes, and insurance amount to substantial deductions for homeowners. Renters paying $1,500 per month to a landlord get no tax benefits. Homeowners paying a $1,500 mortgage each month could save several hundred dollars per month through tax deductions making it actually cheaper to own than to rent.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, more and more workers are creating office spaces in their homes. Tax deductions may be available if you use a portion of your home exclusively for work. Check with your tax professional for advice.

Set to expire at the end of 2021 is a residential energy-efficient property credit for home improvements such as installing solar panels or wind turbines.

4. Price Stability

Image

Especially for families on a budget, the stability of housing cost makes owning more attractive than renting. As demand for housing and market prices rise, landlords can increase rent and eventually make a rental home or apartment unaffordable. With a fixed-rate mortgage, however, homeowners have peace of mind in knowing the largest portion of their housing cost will not change unless they alter the terms of their mortgage.

5. Low Mortgage Rates

Image

The cost of borrowing money to buy a home has never been as low as 2020’s rates. The year ended with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate of 2.67 percent. Rates are not expected to significantly rise in 2021, according to the federal mortgage company Freddie Mac. Bankrate.com predicts rates may go slightly lower in early 2021.

“Our founding fathers linked the notion of property ownership to security, a stake in the ground, and general happiness,” says FreddieMac.   “The same applies today as homeownership remains the cornerstone of the American Dream – providing families with a sense of emotional and financial stability and, historically, boosting household wealth through equity and appreciation over time.”

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.

5 reasons to buy instead of rent in 2021

(Pixabay, YHN)

Whether it’s newlyweds trading apartments for their first home or veteran renters taking advantage of historically low interest rates, 2021 offers a home buying climate that may never be seen again.

Even though you likely know the strong arguments in favor of homeownership: investing for the future; building equity; tax benefits; cost stability; and that intangible pride of owning a home that is uniquely yours, it’s normal to have reservations.

For most Americans, purchasing a home is their largest financial transaction, so here is a 2021 look at the five best reasons to buy instead of rent.

797

1. Pride of Ownership

Image

According to experts at personal finance website TheBalance.com, pride of ownership likely is the number one reason for buying a home.  Owning allows more freedom to create living spaces tailored to personal tastes which renting often prohibits. With families spending more time at home, the pandemic created a desire for homes tailored to meet specific needs like a home office or gym. Families see owning a home as an opportunity for long-term stability allowing them to develop roots in a neighborhood and community. While renters can be uprooted by property owners who choose not to renew leases, homeowners have time to get to know their neighbors, develop lifelong friendships, and invest in schools and organizations that make up the fabric of our society.

2. Equity and Appreciation

Image

A home may be a buyer’s largest single purchase, but it’s most often also the wisest investment. While home values may move up and down, over time, homes tend to appreciate in value overall. Investing in stocks and bonds can be complicated, but home investment is easy to understand. Let’s say you have $25,000 to invest. You can buy stocks that hopefully will gain value. Sell that stock in a few years for $27,500 and you’ve gained $2,500 on which you will owe taxes. Invest the same $25,000 as a down payment on a $250,000 home that later sells for $275,000 and you gain $25,000 and will be exempt from taxes.

As a home appreciates in value so does the homeowner’s equity — the difference between the value of the home and the amount owed on a mortgage. Equity can be used to purchase another home, finance home improvements, or as part of a retirement plan. Since homes tend to increase in value over time, many homeowners view equity as a hedge against inflation. That may be especially important in 2021.  Kiplinger, a publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, predicts inflations will rise by two percent as – hopefully – the pandemic eases.

3. Tax Benefits

Image

Every April 15th, homeowners enjoy tax deductions unavailable to renters. Mortgage interest, property taxes, and insurance amount to substantial deductions for homeowners. Renters paying $1,500 per month to a landlord get no tax benefits. Homeowners paying a $1,500 mortgage each month could save several hundred dollars per month through tax deductions making it actually cheaper to own than to rent.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, more and more workers are creating office spaces in their homes. Tax deductions may be available if you use a portion of your home exclusively for work. Check with your tax professional for advice.

Set to expire at the end of 2021 is a residential energy-efficient property credit for home improvements such as installing solar panels or wind turbines.

4. Price Stability

Image

Especially for families on a budget, the stability of housing cost makes owning more attractive than renting. As demand for housing and market prices rise, landlords can increase rent and eventually make a rental home or apartment unaffordable. With a fixed-rate mortgage, however, homeowners have peace of mind in knowing the largest portion of their housing cost will not change unless they alter the terms of their mortgage.

5. Low Mortgage Rates

Image

The cost of borrowing money to buy a home has never been as low as 2020’s rates. The year ended with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate of 2.67 percent. Rates are not expected to significantly rise in 2021, according to the federal mortgage company Freddie Mac. Bankrate.com predicts rates may go slightly lower in early 2021.

“Our founding fathers linked the notion of property ownership to security, a stake in the ground, and general happiness,” says FreddieMac.   “The same applies today as homeownership remains the cornerstone of the American Dream – providing families with a sense of emotional and financial stability and, historically, boosting household wealth through equity and appreciation over time.”

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.

5 reasons to buy instead of rent in 2021

(Pixabay, YHN)

Whether it’s newlyweds trading apartments for their first home or veteran renters taking advantage of historically low interest rates, 2021 offers a home buying climate that may never be seen again.

Even though you likely know the strong arguments in favor of homeownership: investing for the future; building equity; tax benefits; cost stability; and that intangible pride of owning a home that is uniquely yours, it’s normal to have reservations.

For most Americans, purchasing a home is their largest financial transaction, so here is a 2021 look at the five best reasons to buy instead of rent.

797

1. Pride of Ownership

Image

According to experts at personal finance website TheBalance.com, pride of ownership likely is the number one reason for buying a home.  Owning allows more freedom to create living spaces tailored to personal tastes which renting often prohibits. With families spending more time at home, the pandemic created a desire for homes tailored to meet specific needs like a home office or gym. Families see owning a home as an opportunity for long-term stability allowing them to develop roots in a neighborhood and community. While renters can be uprooted by property owners who choose not to renew leases, homeowners have time to get to know their neighbors, develop lifelong friendships, and invest in schools and organizations that make up the fabric of our society.

2. Equity and Appreciation

Image

A home may be a buyer’s largest single purchase, but it’s most often also the wisest investment. While home values may move up and down, over time, homes tend to appreciate in value overall. Investing in stocks and bonds can be complicated, but home investment is easy to understand. Let’s say you have $25,000 to invest. You can buy stocks that hopefully will gain value. Sell that stock in a few years for $27,500 and you’ve gained $2,500 on which you will owe taxes. Invest the same $25,000 as a down payment on a $250,000 home that later sells for $275,000 and you gain $25,000 and will be exempt from taxes.

As a home appreciates in value so does the homeowner’s equity — the difference between the value of the home and the amount owed on a mortgage. Equity can be used to purchase another home, finance home improvements, or as part of a retirement plan. Since homes tend to increase in value over time, many homeowners view equity as a hedge against inflation. That may be especially important in 2021.  Kiplinger, a publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, predicts inflations will rise by two percent as – hopefully – the pandemic eases.

3. Tax Benefits

Image

Every April 15th, homeowners enjoy tax deductions unavailable to renters. Mortgage interest, property taxes, and insurance amount to substantial deductions for homeowners. Renters paying $1,500 per month to a landlord get no tax benefits. Homeowners paying a $1,500 mortgage each month could save several hundred dollars per month through tax deductions making it actually cheaper to own than to rent.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, more and more workers are creating office spaces in their homes. Tax deductions may be available if you use a portion of your home exclusively for work. Check with your tax professional for advice.

Set to expire at the end of 2021 is a residential energy-efficient property credit for home improvements such as installing solar panels or wind turbines.

4. Price Stability

Image

Especially for families on a budget, the stability of housing cost makes owning more attractive than renting. As demand for housing and market prices rise, landlords can increase rent and eventually make a rental home or apartment unaffordable. With a fixed-rate mortgage, however, homeowners have peace of mind in knowing the largest portion of their housing cost will not change unless they alter the terms of their mortgage.

5. Low Mortgage Rates

Image

The cost of borrowing money to buy a home has never been as low as 2020’s rates. The year ended with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate of 2.67 percent. Rates are not expected to significantly rise in 2021, according to the federal mortgage company Freddie Mac. Bankrate.com predicts rates may go slightly lower in early 2021.

“Our founding fathers linked the notion of property ownership to security, a stake in the ground, and general happiness,” says FreddieMac.   “The same applies today as homeownership remains the cornerstone of the American Dream – providing families with a sense of emotional and financial stability and, historically, boosting household wealth through equity and appreciation over time.”

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.

Alabama’s Historic Tax Credit breathing life into old buildings

Renewed by the Alabama Legislature in 2017, the Historic Tax Credit is a set-aside of $100 million in tax credits spread over five years (2018-2022) for the rehabilitation of historic properties throughout the state. The tax credit is split between urban and rural counties, with $60 million to urban counties and $40 million to rural counties.

“This tax credit helps breathe new life into once vibrant, historic locations that are now in various states of disrepair,” says Jeremy Walker, Alabama Realtors® chief executive officer. “The impact of this tax credit can be seen across the state with the revitalization of historic structures and entire sections of downtowns.”

The tax credit is overseen by the Historic Tax Credit Committee, composed of legislators and several heads of state government agencies and aided by the Alabama Historical Commission. The committee meets quarterly to approve and grade project applications. This year, the committee has met three times, approving original and supplemental requests for 20 projects, 10 urban and 10 rural, and is scheduled to meet again in December to consider additional applications.

The map below shows every location that has taken advantage of the tax credit to date:

712

As mentioned above, the Historic Tax Credit program has benefited both rural and urban counties.

Rural Projects

The committee approved 10 rural projects so far in 2020. The buildings, locations and amounts are listed in the chart below and in the map above. These 10 projects include one supplemental request from an existing project and are allocated tax credits in 2020 and 2021.

Building (Location)

Amount Requested

Pratt Continental Gin (Prattville)

$5 million

Malone Ford Building (Dothan)

>$1.2 million

Calvin House (Decatur)

$50,000

Strand Theater (Atmore)

$425,000

Atmore Hardware (Atmore)

$400,000

Old Baptist Hospital (Selma)

$2.499 million

Tower Building (Decatur)

$1 million

Pluma Parker House (Piedmont)

$16,250

Roland and Fannie Gray House (Decatur)

$35,000

Womack’s Hardware (Monroeville)

$32,777.75 (supplemental request)

Since 2018, the beginning of the program, 24 rural applications have been approved to receive the Historic Tax Credit, although three rural projects have had their approvals rescinded. With two rescinded projects receiving approval upon re-application (Old Baptist Hospital and Pratt Continental Gin) and one project receiving approval for a supplemental request, a total of 20 rural projects are currently receiving tax credits. Of these, one rural project, Womack’s Theater in Monroeville, was completed but approved for supplemental credits, while the other 19 are in various stages.

From a monetary standpoint, the 20 rural projects have received or will receive just over $16.5 million in the Historic Tax Credits for rural Alabama. But almost $9.7 million from the 2018 and 2019 rural allocation was left on the table. Under the Historic Tax Credit bill, any rural funds remaining unallocated after a set amount of time reverts to the urban portion. This means that the $9.7 million has gone to urban projects.

Urban Projects

The committee has approved 10 urban projects, including two supplemental requests from existing projects, in 2020. The buildings, locations and amounts approved are detailed below, and all 10 project allocations are on the waitlist.

Building (Location)

Amount Requested

Ferbank Apartments (Mobile)

$150,000

Irwin-Sandoz-Jones House (Fairhope)

$162,500

Gayfer’s Building (Mobile)

$3.5 million

Lincoln Mill (Huntsville)

$2.25 million

Ashland Place Fire Station (Mobile)

$62,500

Zinszer’s Mammoth Furn. Co. (Birmingham)

$750,000

Silver’s 5 & 10 (Birmingham)

$250,000

Swann & Co. (Birmingham)

$135,156 (Supplemental)

1516 29th St. N. (Birmingham)

$25,000

Wheeler Building (Mobile)

$116,700 (Supplemental)

Since 2018, the committee has approved 75 urban applications, two of which are the supplemental requests approved this year. Fifty-four of these projects received or will receive an allocation from the 2018-2022 urban funds, while the other 21 urban projects are on the waitlist in case the rural portion remains unused or future funding is allocated by the Alabama Legislature. Eight urban projects have already been completed, and two completed projects are included on the waitlist, awaiting supplemental credits.

The allocations from 2018 to 2022 for the 54 projects total nearly $69.7 million dollars, while the 20 waitlisted projects equal over $16.375 million. The majority of the 75 projects are in Birmingham (43) and in Mobile (22), while the other 10 are split between Montgomery (3), Huntsville (2), Fairhope (2), Tuscaloosa (1), Homewood (1) and Daphne (1). It is interesting to note that no urban projects have had their approvals rescinded.

Remaining Funds

Looking forward, none of the tax credit of $60 million remains for urban properties, and as stated above, an additional $16.375 million in urban requests is waitlisted. For the rural portion, over $5.6 million remains for the 2021 allocation, and the entire $8 million remains for the 2022 allocation.

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.

Alabama’s Historic Tax Credit breathing life into old buildings

Renewed by the Alabama Legislature in 2017, the Historic Tax Credit is a set-aside of $100 million in tax credits spread over five years (2018-2022) for the rehabilitation of historic properties throughout the state. The tax credit is split between urban and rural counties, with $60 million to urban counties and $40 million to rural counties.

“This tax credit helps breathe new life into once vibrant, historic locations that are now in various states of disrepair,” says Jeremy Walker, Alabama Realtors® chief executive officer. “The impact of this tax credit can be seen across the state with the revitalization of historic structures and entire sections of downtowns.”

The tax credit is overseen by the Historic Tax Credit Committee, composed of legislators and several heads of state government agencies and aided by the Alabama Historical Commission. The committee meets quarterly to approve and grade project applications. This year, the committee has met three times, approving original and supplemental requests for 20 projects, 10 urban and 10 rural, and is scheduled to meet again in December to consider additional applications.

The map below shows every location that has taken advantage of the tax credit to date:

712

As mentioned above, the Historic Tax Credit program has benefited both rural and urban counties.

Rural Projects

The committee approved 10 rural projects so far in 2020. The buildings, locations and amounts are listed in the chart below and in the map above. These 10 projects include one supplemental request from an existing project and are allocated tax credits in 2020 and 2021.

Building (Location)

Amount Requested

Pratt Continental Gin (Prattville)

$5 million

Malone Ford Building (Dothan)

>$1.2 million

Calvin House (Decatur)

$50,000

Strand Theater (Atmore)

$425,000

Atmore Hardware (Atmore)

$400,000

Old Baptist Hospital (Selma)

$2.499 million

Tower Building (Decatur)

$1 million

Pluma Parker House (Piedmont)

$16,250

Roland and Fannie Gray House (Decatur)

$35,000

Womack’s Hardware (Monroeville)

$32,777.75 (supplemental request)

Since 2018, the beginning of the program, 24 rural applications have been approved to receive the Historic Tax Credit, although three rural projects have had their approvals rescinded. With two rescinded projects receiving approval upon re-application (Old Baptist Hospital and Pratt Continental Gin) and one project receiving approval for a supplemental request, a total of 20 rural projects are currently receiving tax credits. Of these, one rural project, Womack’s Theater in Monroeville, was completed but approved for supplemental credits, while the other 19 are in various stages.

From a monetary standpoint, the 20 rural projects have received or will receive just over $16.5 million in the Historic Tax Credits for rural Alabama. But almost $9.7 million from the 2018 and 2019 rural allocation was left on the table. Under the Historic Tax Credit bill, any rural funds remaining unallocated after a set amount of time reverts to the urban portion. This means that the $9.7 million has gone to urban projects.

Urban Projects

The committee has approved 10 urban projects, including two supplemental requests from existing projects, in 2020. The buildings, locations and amounts approved are detailed below, and all 10 project allocations are on the waitlist.

Building (Location)

Amount Requested

Ferbank Apartments (Mobile)

$150,000

Irwin-Sandoz-Jones House (Fairhope)

$162,500

Gayfer’s Building (Mobile)

$3.5 million

Lincoln Mill (Huntsville)

$2.25 million

Ashland Place Fire Station (Mobile)

$62,500

Zinszer’s Mammoth Furn. Co. (Birmingham)

$750,000

Silver’s 5 & 10 (Birmingham)

$250,000

Swann & Co. (Birmingham)

$135,156 (Supplemental)

1516 29th St. N. (Birmingham)

$25,000

Wheeler Building (Mobile)

$116,700 (Supplemental)

Since 2018, the committee has approved 75 urban applications, two of which are the supplemental requests approved this year. Fifty-four of these projects received or will receive an allocation from the 2018-2022 urban funds, while the other 21 urban projects are on the waitlist in case the rural portion remains unused or future funding is allocated by the Alabama Legislature. Eight urban projects have already been completed, and two completed projects are included on the waitlist, awaiting supplemental credits.

The allocations from 2018 to 2022 for the 54 projects total nearly $69.7 million dollars, while the 20 waitlisted projects equal over $16.375 million. The majority of the 75 projects are in Birmingham (43) and in Mobile (22), while the other 10 are split between Montgomery (3), Huntsville (2), Fairhope (2), Tuscaloosa (1), Homewood (1) and Daphne (1). It is interesting to note that no urban projects have had their approvals rescinded.

Remaining Funds

Looking forward, none of the tax credit of $60 million remains for urban properties, and as stated above, an additional $16.375 million in urban requests is waitlisted. For the rural portion, over $5.6 million remains for the 2021 allocation, and the entire $8 million remains for the 2022 allocation.

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.

Alabama’s Historic Tax Credit breathing life into old buildings

Renewed by the Alabama Legislature in 2017, the Historic Tax Credit is a set-aside of $100 million in tax credits spread over five years (2018-2022) for the rehabilitation of historic properties throughout the state. The tax credit is split between urban and rural counties, with $60 million to urban counties and $40 million to rural counties.

“This tax credit helps breathe new life into once vibrant, historic locations that are now in various states of disrepair,” says Jeremy Walker, Alabama Realtors® chief executive officer. “The impact of this tax credit can be seen across the state with the revitalization of historic structures and entire sections of downtowns.”

The tax credit is overseen by the Historic Tax Credit Committee, composed of legislators and several heads of state government agencies and aided by the Alabama Historical Commission. The committee meets quarterly to approve and grade project applications. This year, the committee has met three times, approving original and supplemental requests for 20 projects, 10 urban and 10 rural, and is scheduled to meet again in December to consider additional applications.

The map below shows every location that has taken advantage of the tax credit to date:

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As mentioned above, the Historic Tax Credit program has benefited both rural and urban counties.

Rural Projects

The committee approved 10 rural projects so far in 2020. The buildings, locations and amounts are listed in the chart below and in the map above. These 10 projects include one supplemental request from an existing project and are allocated tax credits in 2020 and 2021.

Building (Location)

Amount Requested

Pratt Continental Gin (Prattville)

$5 million

Malone Ford Building (Dothan)

>$1.2 million

Calvin House (Decatur)

$50,000

Strand Theater (Atmore)

$425,000

Atmore Hardware (Atmore)

$400,000

Old Baptist Hospital (Selma)

$2.499 million

Tower Building (Decatur)

$1 million

Pluma Parker House (Piedmont)

$16,250

Roland and Fannie Gray House (Decatur)

$35,000

Womack’s Hardware (Monroeville)

$32,777.75 (supplemental request)

Since 2018, the beginning of the program, 24 rural applications have been approved to receive the Historic Tax Credit, although three rural projects have had their approvals rescinded. With two rescinded projects receiving approval upon re-application (Old Baptist Hospital and Pratt Continental Gin) and one project receiving approval for a supplemental request, a total of 20 rural projects are currently receiving tax credits. Of these, one rural project, Womack’s Theater in Monroeville, was completed but approved for supplemental credits, while the other 19 are in various stages.

From a monetary standpoint, the 20 rural projects have received or will receive just over $16.5 million in the Historic Tax Credits for rural Alabama. But almost $9.7 million from the 2018 and 2019 rural allocation was left on the table. Under the Historic Tax Credit bill, any rural funds remaining unallocated after a set amount of time reverts to the urban portion. This means that the $9.7 million has gone to urban projects.

Urban Projects

The committee has approved 10 urban projects, including two supplemental requests from existing projects, in 2020. The buildings, locations and amounts approved are detailed below, and all 10 project allocations are on the waitlist.

Building (Location)

Amount Requested

Ferbank Apartments (Mobile)

$150,000

Irwin-Sandoz-Jones House (Fairhope)

$162,500

Gayfer’s Building (Mobile)

$3.5 million

Lincoln Mill (Huntsville)

$2.25 million

Ashland Place Fire Station (Mobile)

$62,500

Zinszer’s Mammoth Furn. Co. (Birmingham)

$750,000

Silver’s 5 & 10 (Birmingham)

$250,000

Swann & Co. (Birmingham)

$135,156 (Supplemental)

1516 29th St. N. (Birmingham)

$25,000

Wheeler Building (Mobile)

$116,700 (Supplemental)

Since 2018, the committee has approved 75 urban applications, two of which are the supplemental requests approved this year. Fifty-four of these projects received or will receive an allocation from the 2018-2022 urban funds, while the other 21 urban projects are on the waitlist in case the rural portion remains unused or future funding is allocated by the Alabama Legislature. Eight urban projects have already been completed, and two completed projects are included on the waitlist, awaiting supplemental credits.

The allocations from 2018 to 2022 for the 54 projects total nearly $69.7 million dollars, while the 20 waitlisted projects equal over $16.375 million. The majority of the 75 projects are in Birmingham (43) and in Mobile (22), while the other 10 are split between Montgomery (3), Huntsville (2), Fairhope (2), Tuscaloosa (1), Homewood (1) and Daphne (1). It is interesting to note that no urban projects have had their approvals rescinded.

Remaining Funds

Looking forward, none of the tax credit of $60 million remains for urban properties, and as stated above, an additional $16.375 million in urban requests is waitlisted. For the rural portion, over $5.6 million remains for the 2021 allocation, and the entire $8 million remains for the 2022 allocation.

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.

Terminix to pay $60 million in coastal Alabama termite claims settlement

(Pixabay, YHN)

Last week, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office announced a $60 million settlement with Terminix over its termite treatment practices in Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe Counties.

The settlement stems from Terminix’s business practices in coastal counties where they did not provide annual termite inspections as required in their contracts and then drastically increased annual premiums to get out of costly contracts.

“We applaud Attorney General Steve Marshall’s efforts in protecting Alabama homeowners against fraud and abuse,” says Jeremy Walker, Alabama Realtors® Chief Executive Officer. “Alabama homeowners across the gulf coast will feel the impact of this Terminix settlement.”

If you live in coastal Alabama and have hired Terminix for treatment over the past several years, this settlement could affect you. Consumers may be eligible for refunds and/or new services, including up to $650 from the Consumer Relief Fund, the re-treatment of their home at no cost by Terminix, new inspections, the repair of termite damage by Terminix, and potential reinstatement of lapsed policies at 2018 premium levels.

299

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the settlement must first be approved by the Montgomery County Circuit Court judge. Following court approval, eligible Terminix customers will be contacted with more information on the claims and refunds process.

Settlement Breakdown

The full breakdown of the settlement is:

  • $25 million for the Alabama Consumer Relief Fund for refunds to overcharged consumers and to consumers forced to pay other termite companies for services they should have received from Terminix (includes $650 to any Alabama consumer who left Terminix and hired another company to provide termite protection, or pay the difference between the former customer’s new termite protection costs and previous costs);
  • $10 million to retreat over 12,000 customer homes in Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe Counties, whether or not those homes had suffered termite damage;
  • $20 million to the Attorney General’s Office to settle the State of Alabama’s claims against Terminix and to be reinvested in statewide consumer protection efforts;
  • $4 million to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; and,
  • $1 million charitable contribution to the Auburn University Department of Entomology.

Terminix also has agreed to:

  • New inspections of homes in affected areas to ensure no termite infestations exist,
  • Repair all termite damage claims in affected areas,
  • Adopt a price increase schedule that is reasonable and affordable, and
  • Reinstate eligible consumers who lost lifetime Terminix contracts at the reasonable price levels paid in 2018

For more information, see the Attorney General’s Office press release here.

 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.

Terminix to pay $60 million in coastal Alabama termite claims settlement

(Pixabay, YHN)

Last week, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office announced a $60 million settlement with Terminix over its termite treatment practices in Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe Counties.

The settlement stems from Terminix’s business practices in coastal counties where they did not provide annual termite inspections as required in their contracts and then drastically increased annual premiums to get out of costly contracts.

“We applaud Attorney General Steve Marshall’s efforts in protecting Alabama homeowners against fraud and abuse,” says Jeremy Walker, Alabama Realtors® Chief Executive Officer. “Alabama homeowners across the gulf coast will feel the impact of this Terminix settlement.”

If you live in coastal Alabama and have hired Terminix for treatment over the past several years, this settlement could affect you. Consumers may be eligible for refunds and/or new services, including up to $650 from the Consumer Relief Fund, the re-treatment of their home at no cost by Terminix, new inspections, the repair of termite damage by Terminix, and potential reinstatement of lapsed policies at 2018 premium levels.

299

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the settlement must first be approved by the Montgomery County Circuit Court judge. Following court approval, eligible Terminix customers will be contacted with more information on the claims and refunds process.

Settlement Breakdown

The full breakdown of the settlement is:

  • $25 million for the Alabama Consumer Relief Fund for refunds to overcharged consumers and to consumers forced to pay other termite companies for services they should have received from Terminix (includes $650 to any Alabama consumer who left Terminix and hired another company to provide termite protection, or pay the difference between the former customer’s new termite protection costs and previous costs);
  • $10 million to retreat over 12,000 customer homes in Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe Counties, whether or not those homes had suffered termite damage;
  • $20 million to the Attorney General’s Office to settle the State of Alabama’s claims against Terminix and to be reinvested in statewide consumer protection efforts;
  • $4 million to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; and,
  • $1 million charitable contribution to the Auburn University Department of Entomology.

Terminix also has agreed to:

  • New inspections of homes in affected areas to ensure no termite infestations exist,
  • Repair all termite damage claims in affected areas,
  • Adopt a price increase schedule that is reasonable and affordable, and
  • Reinstate eligible consumers who lost lifetime Terminix contracts at the reasonable price levels paid in 2018

For more information, see the Attorney General’s Office press release here.

 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.

Terminix to pay $60 million in coastal Alabama termite claims settlement

(Pixabay, YHN)

Last week, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office announced a $60 million settlement with Terminix over its termite treatment practices in Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe Counties.

The settlement stems from Terminix’s business practices in coastal counties where they did not provide annual termite inspections as required in their contracts and then drastically increased annual premiums to get out of costly contracts.

“We applaud Attorney General Steve Marshall’s efforts in protecting Alabama homeowners against fraud and abuse,” says Jeremy Walker, Alabama Realtors® Chief Executive Officer. “Alabama homeowners across the gulf coast will feel the impact of this Terminix settlement.”

If you live in coastal Alabama and have hired Terminix for treatment over the past several years, this settlement could affect you. Consumers may be eligible for refunds and/or new services, including up to $650 from the Consumer Relief Fund, the re-treatment of their home at no cost by Terminix, new inspections, the repair of termite damage by Terminix, and potential reinstatement of lapsed policies at 2018 premium levels.

299

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the settlement must first be approved by the Montgomery County Circuit Court judge. Following court approval, eligible Terminix customers will be contacted with more information on the claims and refunds process.

Settlement Breakdown

The full breakdown of the settlement is:

  • $25 million for the Alabama Consumer Relief Fund for refunds to overcharged consumers and to consumers forced to pay other termite companies for services they should have received from Terminix (includes $650 to any Alabama consumer who left Terminix and hired another company to provide termite protection, or pay the difference between the former customer’s new termite protection costs and previous costs);
  • $10 million to retreat over 12,000 customer homes in Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe Counties, whether or not those homes had suffered termite damage;
  • $20 million to the Attorney General’s Office to settle the State of Alabama’s claims against Terminix and to be reinvested in statewide consumer protection efforts;
  • $4 million to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; and,
  • $1 million charitable contribution to the Auburn University Department of Entomology.

Terminix also has agreed to:

  • New inspections of homes in affected areas to ensure no termite infestations exist,
  • Repair all termite damage claims in affected areas,
  • Adopt a price increase schedule that is reasonable and affordable, and
  • Reinstate eligible consumers who lost lifetime Terminix contracts at the reasonable price levels paid in 2018

For more information, see the Attorney General’s Office press release here.

 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.

Everyone can now have their own sweet home in Alabama

(National Association of Realtors/Contributed)

Now that it’s 2019, no longer does the term “Sweet Home Alabama” have to be just a famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song, or a Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.

That’s because anyone who has always wanted to own a home of their own in Alabama now has a new tool to help them do that for the first time, or even the first time in a long while.

393

In Alabama, the First-Time Homebuyer and Second-Chance Savings Account (FHSA), is now available for anyone who has never owned a home or for those folks who are re-entering the housing market and haven’t owned a home for at least a decade.

Individuals or couples can open one of these tax-free savings accounts at any local bank, credit union or other financial institution in Alabama. The principal deposits and earnings will be deductible on their state income taxes.

The savings in this account can be used to pay for a down payment and/or closing costs for a single-family dwelling.

ABOUT THE ACCOUNTS

“First-time buyers can now begin the process of buying a home years in advance, simply by starting a savings account, and get a tax break by doing so,” said Morgan Ashurst, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® Public Policy Chair. “We are proud to have played a role in helping provide first-time buyers with this new resource.”

The option to use this account was created in 2018 when the Alabama legislature passed a bill and Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law. It allows individuals or couples to make deposits and earnings up to $50,000, with a mandate that qualified expenditures must be made within five years from opening the account.

“One of the most commonly asked questions from first-time buyers is, ‘Where do I start?’ This savings account is the new starting point,” said Stacey Sanders, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® President. “We are excited to see the growth this new homebuying tool spurs in Alabama’s housing market.”

A POSITIVE IMPACT

And while this benefit is great for the first-time homebuyer and those who may have had to hit the reset button for a time and are ready to own a home again now, it’s a benefit to all Alabama residents.

Even though other Alabamaians can’t take advantage of the FHSA, they benefit because home ownership helps improve neighborhoods, which in turn attracts businesses, which creates jobs and improves our local economy.

Homeownership provides wealth accumulation for owners, in addition to social and economic benefits.

Overall, 90% of Alabama residents believe homeownership is a good financial decision.

So, there’s a stake in homeownership for everybody in Alabama, where, according to the song, the skies are so blue. And those skies will be bluer and brighter with more homeowners, which is why those that qualify should take advantage of the FHSA now that it is available.

BY Anthony Sanfilippo

Everyone can now have their own sweet home in Alabama

(National Association of Realtors/Contributed)

Now that it’s 2019, no longer does the term “Sweet Home Alabama” have to be just a famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song, or a Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.

That’s because anyone who has always wanted to own a home of their own in Alabama now has a new tool to help them do that for the first time, or even the first time in a long while.

393

In Alabama, the First-Time Homebuyer and Second-Chance Savings Account (FHSA), is now available for anyone who has never owned a home or for those folks who are re-entering the housing market and haven’t owned a home for at least a decade.

Individuals or couples can open one of these tax-free savings accounts at any local bank, credit union or other financial institution in Alabama. The principal deposits and earnings will be deductible on their state income taxes.

The savings in this account can be used to pay for a down payment and/or closing costs for a single-family dwelling.

ABOUT THE ACCOUNTS

“First-time buyers can now begin the process of buying a home years in advance, simply by starting a savings account, and get a tax break by doing so,” said Morgan Ashurst, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® Public Policy Chair. “We are proud to have played a role in helping provide first-time buyers with this new resource.”

The option to use this account was created in 2018 when the Alabama legislature passed a bill and Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law. It allows individuals or couples to make deposits and earnings up to $50,000, with a mandate that qualified expenditures must be made within five years from opening the account.

“One of the most commonly asked questions from first-time buyers is, ‘Where do I start?’ This savings account is the new starting point,” said Stacey Sanders, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® President. “We are excited to see the growth this new homebuying tool spurs in Alabama’s housing market.”

A POSITIVE IMPACT

And while this benefit is great for the first-time homebuyer and those who may have had to hit the reset button for a time and are ready to own a home again now, it’s a benefit to all Alabama residents.

Even though other Alabamaians can’t take advantage of the FHSA, they benefit because home ownership helps improve neighborhoods, which in turn attracts businesses, which creates jobs and improves our local economy.

Homeownership provides wealth accumulation for owners, in addition to social and economic benefits.

Overall, 90% of Alabama residents believe homeownership is a good financial decision.

So, there’s a stake in homeownership for everybody in Alabama, where, according to the song, the skies are so blue. And those skies will be bluer and brighter with more homeowners, which is why those that qualify should take advantage of the FHSA now that it is available.

BY Anthony Sanfilippo

Everyone can now have their own sweet home in Alabama

(National Association of Realtors/Contributed)

Now that it’s 2019, no longer does the term “Sweet Home Alabama” have to be just a famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song, or a Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.

That’s because anyone who has always wanted to own a home of their own in Alabama now has a new tool to help them do that for the first time, or even the first time in a long while.

393

In Alabama, the First-Time Homebuyer and Second-Chance Savings Account (FHSA), is now available for anyone who has never owned a home or for those folks who are re-entering the housing market and haven’t owned a home for at least a decade.

Individuals or couples can open one of these tax-free savings accounts at any local bank, credit union or other financial institution in Alabama. The principal deposits and earnings will be deductible on their state income taxes.

The savings in this account can be used to pay for a down payment and/or closing costs for a single-family dwelling.

ABOUT THE ACCOUNTS

“First-time buyers can now begin the process of buying a home years in advance, simply by starting a savings account, and get a tax break by doing so,” said Morgan Ashurst, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® Public Policy Chair. “We are proud to have played a role in helping provide first-time buyers with this new resource.”

The option to use this account was created in 2018 when the Alabama legislature passed a bill and Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law. It allows individuals or couples to make deposits and earnings up to $50,000, with a mandate that qualified expenditures must be made within five years from opening the account.

“One of the most commonly asked questions from first-time buyers is, ‘Where do I start?’ This savings account is the new starting point,” said Stacey Sanders, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® President. “We are excited to see the growth this new homebuying tool spurs in Alabama’s housing market.”

A POSITIVE IMPACT

And while this benefit is great for the first-time homebuyer and those who may have had to hit the reset button for a time and are ready to own a home again now, it’s a benefit to all Alabama residents.

Even though other Alabamaians can’t take advantage of the FHSA, they benefit because home ownership helps improve neighborhoods, which in turn attracts businesses, which creates jobs and improves our local economy.

Homeownership provides wealth accumulation for owners, in addition to social and economic benefits.

Overall, 90% of Alabama residents believe homeownership is a good financial decision.

So, there’s a stake in homeownership for everybody in Alabama, where, according to the song, the skies are so blue. And those skies will be bluer and brighter with more homeowners, which is why those that qualify should take advantage of the FHSA now that it is available.

BY Anthony Sanfilippo