Where to Buy Next?
Where there is growth, there is opportunity. There is certainly growth occurring in the state of Alabama, and excellent opportunities to make a solid real estate investment.
Right in our backyard, there are three distinctly attractive regions: Madison County, Lee County and Baldwin County. Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these regions.
The story of Madison County is home to one of the state’s and nation’s fastest growing cities – Huntsville. In addition, the county as a whole is growing as a hub for engineering, government and tech. Facebook, Blue Origin, and Toyota Mazda all have a presence in the area.
Madison County is home to Redstone Arsenal, a United States Army post also home to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As a hub for aerospace engineering, the region boasts the highest number of engineers per capita in the United States. Because of those engineers and Redstone Arsenal, US Space Command is coming to Madison County.
You can see the direct impact of all of this industry in the numbers, the demographics.
According to the most recent United States census data, Madison County, Alabama is the third largest county in Alabama. That’s an estimated population of 390,624.
The county’s population has grown by an average of 1.2% per year or 16% from 2010 to 2020.
As we can expect from population growth, the job market in Madison County has skyrocketed. In the past year alone, Yellowhammer News notes that the county has seen an approximate 3.6% growth.
This growth is expected to continually climb over the next decade, projected to hit 40.8% in the next decade. It’s an excellent projection when compared to the national average of 33.5%.
What makes Madison County a great investment opportunity is that future economic growth paired with a myriad of other great features.
The city of Madison is climbing up the ranks as one of Alabama’s top 10 wealthiest cities on average, and the region boasts a medium household income of $99,188.
It’s also an affordable county for residents – one of the main reasons people relocate to the area. The cost of living, according to Best Places(.net), is 10.8% lower than the state average. It’s an even more attractive rank when you take into account the strength of the local economy, the area’s low unemployment rate and the fact that the area trends more highly educated.
In Lee County, the narrative plays out in a different way – perhaps stronger than Madison County.
Neighboring the county is the state’s capital, Montgomery, which has been in decay for years. Enter Lee County, an area that is close to the state capital but boasts far better quality of life – notably a high performing school district.
With better schools, lower crime rates and a growing economy and job market, the market is heating up in Lee County.
You could identify Lee County as a “boom county” of sorts. The population grew from 140,815 to 166,831 from 2010 to 2020 – a growth rate of 18% over 10 years.
The job market in the county has grown by about 1.7% over the last year, with a projected growth estimated at 38.5% over the next 10 years. That’s a sturdy 5% higher than the national average.
Lee County is home to several world-renown companies, both commercial and industrial. Some of the main players are Briggs and Stratton, a Walmart distribution center, and automotive manufacturing plants including Kia and Hyundai.
We love a low cost of living, which Lee County delivers. According to Best Places(.net), the cost of living is 6.9% lower than the U.S. average.
Building off of some strong demographic data, there are the amenities. Quality of life offerings abound with both college-town amenities as well as historical features.
Lee County is home to Auburn, a growing city with a small, college-town feel. Auburn University is centrally located in the city’s downtown and boasts historic buildings and attractive landscaping. The University is a huge draw for the town and has grown at a rate of 22.57% from 2010 to 2020.
While the pandemic caused a worldwide hit, Baldwin County snapped back. Why? Years of downsizing and urbanizing took a shift as droves of people fled major cities in search of space in a warmer climate.
Baldwin County may be more affordable for residents than some of its neighboring coastal hot spots, but there is no sacrifice when it comes to the landscape. It’s a gorgeous area that offers great quality of life amenities and industry along the Gulf Coast.
Over the past decade, the county has welcomed 49,502 new residents, growing from a population of 182,265 in 2010 to 231,767 in 2020.
That’s an unprecedented 27.16% population increase and makes Baldwin County the fastest growing county in the state. The area is also home to five of the state’s top 10 fastest growing cities, according to U.S. 2020 Census data, including Foley (1), Daphne (4), Gulf Shores (5), Spanish Fort (7) and Fairhope (10).
Compared to thriving coastal cities in Florida, from nearby Destin down to Miami, Baldwin County is an affordable place to live with a comparable coastal climate.
The county’s cost of living is 6.8% below the national average, with a median household income of $61,756. Not only that, the area has a low crime rate and a strong economy.
It’s also a great place to snag affordable housing, with a median home value of $211,600.
Why Purchase in a Growing Community?
While it isn’t all about location when you’re purchasing an investment property, it has to be one of the most important factors.
When you invest in a community with a growing population you are investing in a growing economy.
With more community members there is a growing need for amenities – anything from local barbers and clothing stores to restaurants and entertainment opportunities. This increase in businesses is an increase in jobs. That growing job market boosts the economy.
That being said, if you want to be competitive with your investment, it’s necessary to thoughtfully “jump the gun.” Get it before it’s hot.
Once you see strong growth in a community’s economy, property values will undoubtedly begin to increase. If you have invested your money wisely in a property, you’ll reap the benefits of that increase in value – the average investor will likely see more money in their pocket.
If you’re interested in putting your investment to work in these top markets, reach out to our brokerage team for more information.