In 2021, Alabama landed 247 economic development projects with plans to create 10,200 direct new jobs and $7.7 billion in capital investment for communities from Huntsville to Selma, according to the 2021 New and Expanding Industries report from the Alabama Department of Commerce.
The projects represent both new companies to Alabama and existing companies announcing expansions. Gov. Kay Ivey and Commerce secretary Greg Canfield said the $7.7 billion investment total is the second largest in Alabama’s history.
Jobs, of course, are a critical pathway to homeownership; and homeownership is a mainstay of the American dream.
To finance a home, most lenders require proof of employment and adequate income. New jobs in a community, offering stable employment and steady income, create a sense of security for people who want to embark on the pathway to homeownership.
However, the ensuing growth sometimes taxes the ability of local governments to provide infrastructure, services and schools. Huntsville is a good example.
As a center for technology and space, Huntsville attracts high-paying, high-tech jobs, and lots of them. According to a story by Huntsville’s WAAY-TV, “City planners have said it will take years for the housing market to start meeting the demand.” Companies like Google and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing bring new people to the greater Huntsville area and they need homes.
“There’s just not enough built housing on the ground right now to satisfy the demand that is here and coming,” said Dennis Masden, manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning.
Home prices haven’t seen a downturn in the Huntsville area. A recent al.com article cited U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of Huntsville as the best place to live in the country with one factor being housing affordability.
A Huntsville Area Association of Realtors® report cited the average 2021 home price at more than $321,000, an increase of 16% over 2020 and a 66% increase from 2012.
As the demand for homes increases, new housing developments and construction may rise as well. Rental property owners also benefit from new jobs as demand for housing leaves fewer vacancies and competition may lead to higher profits for property owners.
Alabama’s low unemployment rate and economic development successes are good news for the state’s overall economy, and for the real estate and construction industries. New jobs, capital investment and growing communities are bright spots amid less positive economic news.