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Alabamians ranked among the most charitable people in the country

This image doesn't have much to do with anything, but it sure does feel good

It’s no surprise that Alabamians love to give. The state has long had a reputation for its Southern hospitality, but have you ever wondered which Alabama cities are the most generous? Well wonder no longer.

Philanthropy.com recently studied how much each state in the country gives and donates to charity. Alabama is the third-most charitable state in the entire country. Alabamians give 4.87% of their adjusted gross incomes to charity, which translates to over $3 billion dollars of giving. Utah tops the list, giving an incredible 6.61% of their income to charity. Mississippi ranked second with a giving ratio of 5.04%.

The research also gave data for the cities and municipalities that are the most giving in each state, and OnlyInYourState.com made a list of the ten cities that have the biggest hearts in Alabama. The cities of Anniston and Oxford topped the list, giving 5.5% of its adjusted gross income, or $57 million, to charity.

Here is the full list of the most charitable metropolitan areas in Alabama:

10. Auburn-Opelika
9. Mobile
8. Birmingham-Hoover
7. Florence-Muscle Shoals
6. Gadsden
5. Dothan
4. Decatur
3. Tuscaloosa
2. Montgomery
1. Anniston-Oxford

The giving ratio for each metropolitan area and state was determined as the percentage of residents’ adjusted gross income given to charity determined by reports of charitable deductions on income tax forms. A person’s adjusted gross income is their total income minus business expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses, retirement contributions, and other deductions.

The top ten most charitable cities in Alabama are ranked in order from lowest to highest giving ratios. But as some cities on the list are much larger than others, they may have a smaller giving ratio but give more actual money than others. For example, Auburn-Opelika came in at number 10 because their giving ratio is 4.61%, but that translates to $87 million, which is $30 million more than Anniston-Oxford, which came in at number one. And Birmingham-Hoover, the largest area represented on the list, gave over $1 billion to charity, but that number is only a 4.78% giving ratio.

Regardless of how much your metropolitan area gives, or if your city was on the list at all, we now have hard evidence that Alabamians have big hearts and love to give.

Rosa Parks Museum’s ‘Resilient’ by Alabama artist Mike Howard opens May 4

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It’s hard to miss Mike Howard. On a blustery day in Red Hook, Brooklyn, he zooms up to the water taxi dock on his trademark bicycle wearing ankle-length Ugg boots, a pom-pom hat, paint-splattered chinos and a Brooklyn Nets sweatshirt.

Artist Mike Howard spotlights “Resilient” civil rights figures for Rosa Parks Museum from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Howard, a native of Phenix City, has exhibited his paintings everywhere from P.S. 1 in New York to the High Museum in Atlanta. His work has appeared in the pages of Italian Vogue (thanks to his esteemed set designer wife, Mary Howard) and has been included in the tony collections of the Rubell Family and Harvard University. He was accepted into the coveted Whitney Museum Independent Study Program while studying art at theUniversity of Georgia, and was thrust into the New York art world glitterati when he began working with minimalist Donald Judd in the early 1970s.

In Troy University, has taken over his collection and last month completed showing “A Journey Home” at its Johnson Center for the Arts.

“I was doing paintings before I knew I was going to show down there. They were all cows and haystacks and some hunting scenes. Troy is where my grandmother and grandfather had a farm. So it just fit perfectly, the theme of the paintings and Troy being where most of the paintings originated from.”

And the aforementioned Rosa Parks Museum on Troy’s Montgomery campus. The exhibit is being put together in collaboration with the museum’s director, Dr. Felicia Bell, and will consist of existing works (the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., slain New York City graffiti artist Michael Stewart) and new paintings (Parks, the first Selma march and his “The Death of Eric Garner” depiction of Garner’s 2014 death).

Atlanta Contemporary calls Howard a “‘faux’ realist, borrowing from Edouard Manet and Thomas Eakins in order to paint still lifes of fast food, bars and beer.”

His subject matter has an atypical breadth and variety. Cows, haystacks, MoonPies and RC Cola are developed alongside portraits of civil rights icons, the Gowanus Canal, Unabomber shack commemorative plates, death scenes of everyone from Albert Patterson to Jean-Michel Basquiat, and replicas of Warhols and other artists’ work. He attributes the freedom to paint whatever he wants to his decision to leave the formal art world behind when his daughter Mimi was born.

But “It’s not what you paint, it’s how you paint,” he explains.

New York artist/curator/critic Joe Fyfe has called Howard’s work unguarded, egalitarian, generous and spirited. Art Dealer Michael Walls, who gave Howard his first NY gallery show, adds tough and rambunctious to the pot. All words that could also be used to describe Mike Howard himself. To him, “It’s just fast.”

Howard has an easy, wry wit and a fun, mischievous spirit. In addition to being a painter, he is a husband, father, grandfather, competitive cycler, former Marine and boxer. He’s a great storyteller, in person, via his paintings and on his Facebook page, which is peppered with tales from all aspects of his life’s passions – what he’s painting, where he’s racing, his work on his Columbus or Hurtsboro houses, bragging about his grandkids (one of whom he calls T Bone), memories of growing up in Girard, and bemoaning that “Phenix City has destroyed/demolished my childhood places.”

If you’re looking for the most interesting man in the world, I promise you he’s not sipping a Dos Equis somewhere. He’s most likely either drinking coffee or eating Key lime pie at Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn, or holding court at the “round table” at City Grill in Hurtsboro, Alabama.

Mike Howard is a Girard, Alabama, native who splits his time among Brooklyn, Hurtsboro and Columbus, Georgia. His “Resilient” exhibit at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery opens May 4 and will be on view through November.

Rain couldn’t keep crowds away from the action at the Talladega Superspeedway

Tommy Stone poses as Kevin Smith snaps his picture near the sign at the entrance in Talladega (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Tommy Stone poses as Kevin Smith snaps his picture near the sign at the entrance in Talladega (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Duane Davidson drove 14 hours in an RV with three friends to be among the NASCAR enthusiasts at Talladega Superspeedway.

The Kansas City, Mo., resident has missed very few trips to his favorite campsite at Dove Ridge, across the street from the track. He’s been visiting since 1985.

What keeps him coming back?

“Talladega – the race track, the campground, the people,” he said. “We’ll be right here in this spot. You come back in October and we’ll be right here in this spot, only in October we’ll have the wives with us.”

More than 175,000 NASCAR fans descended upon Talladega and saw Brad Keselowski win a crash-fest Sunday in which two cars went airborne and 35 were part of accidents on the track.

“We were pretty full,” said public relations coordinator Sarah Hollingsworth. “Despite the weather, we were pretty packed out there today. Even after it started raining, there were fans up in the stands. They enjoyed it.”

Those fans left a far-reaching economic impact in their wake.

“We’re looking at $37 million for the entire event,” said David Galbaugh, vice president of sports sales and marketing at the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Obviously not all those people stay in Birmingham, but in speaking with the people at Talladega, they really do think the vast number of people who come in from out of town utilize Birmingham as their place to stay.”

Brian Jones, public relations director of the Alabama Tourism Department, chimed in.

“The overall value of everything is a phenomenal thing that happens two weekends a year,” Jones said. “And there’s just a lot of publicity value in terms of having a large-scale sporting event that’s covered nationally by sports media and broadcast live. It’s great, positive coverage.”

Whether staying in a hotel in the region or in an RV on a campsite near the track – or in the infield – fans spend money. They buy food to cook, they buy food from restaurants, they fuel their vehicles and they buy souvenirs.

Talladega-Vendor-Michael-Burnett-of-Macon-S.C.-has-been-coming-18-years-500x281Fifty-eight-year-old Michael Burnett of Macon, S.C., is a roadside vendor and owner of Rudy’s Racing. He travels to 26 of the 36 races a year and has been coming to Talladega for 18 years.

Vendor Michael Burnett of Macon, S.C., has been coming 18 years. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

“There’s a lot of people here (and) there’s a lot of sales to be made,” he said. “My father and I started this company 25 years ago and we got into the NASCAR races. This was one of the first tracks that we ventured out to sell our NASCAR wares.”

Burnett counts Talladega as one of his favorite stops – for the people and the chance to make money.

“It used to be a lot wilder than it is now,” he said. “But it’s just a great crowd. People come here to have a great time.”

Jasper’s Tommy Stone posed for a picture in front of the sign that welcomes patrons into the track. The 22-year-old said he came when he was younger but missed a few years; he’s been coming regularly the past 3-4 years.

“It’s a great experience, a great thing to come and do with your family,” he said. “It’s just a great place to come and have fun, let off some steam.”

Stone and his buddy Kevin Smith had ridden bicycles from their campsite in the infield.

“It’s not as crazy now,” Stone said of the infield experience. “I’ve heard stories from my dad. He’s been coming since he was little. I’ve heard it used to be real crazy out there.”

Talladega-Rodger-Cunningham-poses-with-the-reconditioned-camouflage-painted-school-bus-he-drove-down-from-Paducah-Ky.-450x300Rodger Cunningham drove a reconditioned, camouflage-painted school bus down from Paducah, Ky., for his employers at Clark Distributing Co. The vehicle sleeps six comfortably, has a full shower and toilet and has a 30-person observation deck on top.

Rodger Cunningham poses with the reconditioned, camouflage-painted school bus he drove down from Paducah, Ky. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

“It’s been coming since 2004 and I think it came before that,” Cunningham said. “The company buys me a campsite and one of my friends pulls my camper down. They fly in Saturday and out on Sunday. I get to drive it down and drive it back.”

No doubt they and everyone else in the tri-oval had a good time.

GIVE AN INVALUABLE GIFT THIS MOTHER’S DAY

Are you struggling to find that perfect gift for Mom this Mother’s Day? Like most Americans, her schedule is busy and she might not get to spend as much time with loved ones as she would like. So, in addition to giving her flowers or a gift certificate, give her a gift she’ll really appreciate — the chance to spend more time with the ones she loves!

Mom can never start planning for retirement too early. If she isn’t already retired, she can view her Social Security Statement, verify her earnings records, and find out what benefits she can expect to receive at age 62, her full retirement age, or at age 70.

Next time you spend time with your mom, help her quickly and easily sign up for a free, online my Social Security account. You can do it from home, which means less time waiting in line and more time doing the things you want to do together.

Signing up for a my Social Security account will give Mom (and Dad) the tools she needs to stay on top of her future Social Security benefits. When she signs up at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, she can do a number of things. First and foremost, she can plan for her retirement.

In some states, she can even request a replacement Social Security card online using my Social Security. Currently available in the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Washington, and Wisconsin, it’s an easy, convenient, and secure way to request a replacement card online. We plan to add more states, so we encourage you to check back regularly at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Rocket City home sales up 9 percent in March over last year

Rocket City home sales up 9 percent in March over last year

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

Sales: According to the North Alabama Multiple Listing Service, Huntsville/Madison County residential sales totaled 508 units during March, an increase in sales growth of 8.5 percent or 40 units from the same period last year. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.

For all of Huntsville’s area housing data, click here. 

Forecast: Closed transactions in March were 87 units or 20 percent above our monthly forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through March projected 1,117 closed transactions while the actual sales were 1,271 units, a favorable difference of 13.7 percent.

Total Residential Sales
There were 508 total homes sold in Huntsville during March.

Supply: The Rocket City’s housing inventory totaled 2,711 units, a decrease of 9.4 percent from last March. New home inventory is up 83 units year-over-year while existing single-family inventory is down 340 units.

The inventory-to-sales ratio in March was 5.3 months of housing supply. The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be about 6 months during March. Huntsville continues to move in a favorable direction when it comes to its inventory-to-sales ratio. The market in March experienced a 4.3 percent increase in inventory when compared to the prior month. Historical data indicates a typical 0.8 percent increase from February to March.

Demand: Residential sales in March increased by 22.7 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with seasonal patterns and historical data indicating that March sales, on average (2011-2015), increase from February by 18.7 percent. New home sales made up 23 percent of sales, up from 20 percent the previous March. Existing single family home sales accounted for 75 percent (down from 76 percent in March 2015) of total sales, while condos were 2 percent of sales (down from 4 percent during March 2015).

Pricing: The Huntsville median sales price in March was $172,701, an increase of 9 percent from March 2015 and down 4 percent from the prior month. This month-over-month direction contrasts with historical data (2011-2015) indicating that the March median sales price on average decreases from February by 0.1 percent. It’s important to note that pricing can fluctuate as the sample size of data (closed transactions) is subject to seasonal buying patterns. 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: “Growing pessimism over the last three months about the direction of the economy seems to be spilling over into home purchase sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The gap between the share of consumers who think the economy is on the wrong track and the share who think it is on the right track has widened, nearly matching its reading last August, when concerns regarding China and oil prices led to the biggest stock market plunge in years. In turn, we saw dips this month in income growth perceptions, attitudes about the home selling climate, and job confidence, all of which contributed to the lowest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) reading in the last year and a half. These declines seem to be at odds with recent news of solid overall job creation, but may reflect weakening economic performance in certain industries.” For the full report, click here. 

Alabama 2015 scorecard: Project investment tops $7 billion

Photo By: Alabama NewsCenter

Photo By:
Alabama NewsCenter

Alabama attracted more than $7 billion in capital investment in 2015, along with nearly 20,000 new and future jobs, as the state’s economic development team secured high-caliber projects in key growth sectors such as technology, aerospace and automotive.

At a press conference at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facility in Vance today, Governor Robert Bentley released the state’s 2015 New & Expanding Industry Report, which catalogs the wide range of economic development activity across the state last year.



Key findings in the report include:

  • Companies planning new facilities or expanding their operations in Alabama announced capital investment topping $7.1 billion in 2015, a figure that’s twice the 2014 total and the highest tally in recent years.
  • Alabama attracted foreign direct investment approaching $3.5 billion in 2015, with companies from 18 countries represented. Germany was the top source of FDI, with more than $1.6 billion, and the top source of new jobs, with 951.
  • Tuscaloosa County was No. 1 for new capital investment in 2015, with projects valued at more than $1.5 billion. Much of that is tied to a large-scale expansion planned for the Mercedes plant and the next-generation sport utilities the automaker will build there.

“My chief priority continues to revolve around creating jobs and new opportunities for citizens across the state,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “This new report shows once again that Alabama is well positioned to achieve those goals because of a skilled workforce, proven job-training programs, and a business climate that promotes growth.”

GROWTH TRENDS

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the 2015 economic development report reflects several significant trends taking place in the state’s economy.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield speaks at an announcement that GE Aviation will invest more than $200 million to create two adjacent factories in Huntsville, Oct. 27, 2015. The factories are expected to employ up to 300 people when fully operational. (Governor's Office, Jamie Martin)
Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield speaks at an announcement that GE Aviation will invest $200 million to open two factories in Huntsville (Governor’s Office, Jamie Martin)

A major development is accelerating expansion in Alabama’s aerospace sector linked to the production start-up at Airbus’ new Mobile manufacturing facility, and continued robust growth in the automotive industry.

In addition, Secretary Canfield said, Alabama is attracting a rising number of projects that are creating brainpower jobs in fields such as engineering and research and development. The Mercedes expansion, for expansion, involves the creation of new engineering jobs.

Plus, there are more robust opportunities for Alabama in high-tech following Google’s decision to build a $600 million data center in Jackson County and Equifax’s move to open a Global IT Talent Center at Auburn University.

“Alabama’s economic development team is coming off a landmark year and will continue to pursue the kind of projects that can have a profound impact on the future of our state,” Secretary Canfield said. “We are working hard to create an environment that sets the stage for growth in targeted economic sectors and the creation of high-paying jobs across Alabama.”

The 2015 results build on Alabama’s solid economic development track record in recent years. Since 2011, when Governor Bentley took office, Alabama has recorded $24.4 billion in new capital investment tied to projects, with announced jobs surpassing 92,000.

BREAKING DOWN RESULTS

The 2015 New & Expanding Industry Report shows that 74 companies announced plans to open a new Alabama facility last year, combining for $2.1 billion in investment and 8,023 new and future jobs. The report counts 384 expansions, totaling $5 billion in investment and 11,239 jobs.

Google is building a $600 million data center in Jackson County. (Image: Google)
Google is building a $600 million data center in Jackson County. (Image: Google)

Behind Tuscaloosa, the top counties for project-related capital investment in 2015 were:

  • Jefferson ($900 million)
  • Jackson ($686 million)
  • Mobile ($505 million)
  • Limestone ($471 million)

Trailing Limestone, the top counties for new and future jobs tied to 2015 projects were:

  • Jefferson (2,464)
  • Montgomery (1,268)
  • Madison (1,226)
  • Tuscaloosa (1,032)

The report was compiled by the Alabama Department of Commerce. Today’s press conference was held at the AIDT training center on the Mercedes campus, where the state’s primary job-training agency has helped the automaker build a full-time workforce that now numbers around 3,500.

Alabama’s economic development successes during 2015 have already drawn attention.

Business Facilities, a magazine focusing on economic development, selected Alabama as its “State of the Year” for 2015, while Trade & Industry Development, a similar publication, picked three Alabama projects for investment impact awards.

Probate Judge Hardy McCollum reflects on Tuscaloosa’s progress since April 27, 2011

A shopping center in Tuscaloosa in the aftermath of April 27, 2011. (Contributed)

A shopping center in Tuscaloosa in the aftermath of April 27, 2011. (Contributed)

Five years ago, Tuscaloosa was a much different place, said Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum. The EF4 tornado that roared through the metro area left scars visible today. “I pass them every time I ride to work,” McCollum said. He also sees a community determined to rebuild and flourish.

McCollum attributes cooperation between government, education, industry, volunteer agencies and citizens for the area’s remarkable recovery. “The entire community came together as never before,” he said. The results speak for themselves.

Judge Hardy McCollum remembers April 27, 2011 from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

By the end of 2016, Tuscaloosa County’s population is projected to have increased by about 30,000 residents in just three years, according to the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

McCollum celebrates the arrival of new industry, students, shopping and improved roads.

Tuscaloosa rebuilding after the April 27, 2011

Tuscaloosa rebuilding after the April 27, 2011

“We’re now the state’s No. 1 county for capital investment,” he said. Mercedes’ announcement of a $1.1 billion expansion was the biggest in the state’s history. Samvardhana Motherson Group, an automotive supplier, will build a $150 million facility employing 650 new hires. Enrollment at the University of Alabama is approaching 40,000.

All of this growth has been answered by more shopping options for Tuscaloosa residents. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fresh Market, World Market and Chuy’s Tex-Mex are just a few of many businesses that have recently opened in Tuscaloosa. Cranes and construction crews are busy throughout the metro area.

The good news of Tuscaloosa’s growth is tempered by the storm’s lingering effects. “That tornado started here in Tuscaloosa County and stayed on the ground for more than 80 miles,” McCollum said. “The wounds have healed but scars remain. Even our EMA office was destroyed on April 27, 2011.” In many ways, Tuscaloosa had to start over from scratch.

McCollum said the city and county are much better prepared to respond to future emergencies. Cooperation between government, residents, volunteer agencies and the University of Alabama has been streamlined and improved dramatically. “I’ve never been prouder of our community,” he said.

Tuscaloosa rebuilding after the storms of April 27, 2011

Tuscaloosa rebuilding after the storms of April 27, 2011

When a storm strikes, Alabama Power line crew chief Willie Turner is first on the scene

It's not for everybody, but being an Alabama Power lineman and crew leader has been a perfect fit for Willie Turner. (Karim Shamsi-Basha)

It’s not for everybody, but being an Alabama Power lineman and crew leader has been a perfect fit for Willie Turner. (Karim Shamsi-Basha)

During his 36-year career, Willie Turner has worked in many different departments at Alabama Power, which makes him an experienced crew leader and a well-rounded lineman.

In the weeks leading up to June 6, Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day, Alabama Power and Alabama NewsCenter are highlighting the good work that linemen (and women) do every day to keep the lights on.

This month, Transmission & Distribution World magazine profiled one of Alabama Power’s experienced linemen, Willie Turner. You can read his story here, in his own words. Learn more about the magazine at www.tdworld.com. (Story used with permission from Transmission & Distribution World magazine.)

My uncle, Robert Turner, worked for Alabama Power in the early 1970s as one of the first black meter readers. He intro­duced me to the company, and I got a job in 1980 with build­ing services. I cleaned and buffed floors, cleaned bathrooms and took out trash. I then became a utility man at the ware­house, and I was responsible for unloading washers and dryers as part of our utility’s appliance sales business.

Next, I worked as a truck driver and chipper on the tree crew, where I learned how to cut and fall trees, and tie many different types of knots, which comes in handy. It was hard work, but it was interesting.

I then transferred to the Transmission Department, where I worked as a truck driver. I had the opportunity to practice climbing poles in my free time, and I enjoyed it so much that I applied to be an apprentice. In 1986, I entered the apprentice­ship program, and on my first day, I had to climb a 105-foot wood pole. After working on a district crew for about a year, I came back to the transmission crew as a lineman in 1988 and have been here ever since.

Day in the life

In 2002, I became a crew leader, and I have been working in this position for the last 14 years. I am responsible for task assignment and safe work practices for the assigned task. I am responsible for understanding the broad goals of the crew and directing them. During storm trouble, I am generally the first man on the scene. I determine, with the crew, what material and equipment will be needed. I also handle all the paper­work — time sheets, expenses and other reports — required to close a work order. A good crew leader is the crew’s chief team builder, counselor and mentor.

Safety lesson

Following a storm, a substation experienced an outage, and a crew was working on a transformer to make it hot. Un­fortunately, a young man on the substation crew working in Oneonta got burned, and that stuck with me. Safety is one thought at a time. You can never forget about it.

Memorable storms

I have been involved with a lot of restorations in Alabama, and I think our people are at their best when we have trouble. When looking back on my career, a few severe weather events stand out, the blizzard of 1993 and the tornadoes of 2011. They were both impactful, because we had a lot of devastation and a lot of lines and poles down. The tornadoes came through early in the morning. Just as we finished getting everything back up, a second storm with more tornadoes came through in the afternoon, and they did a lot of damage. We worked long hours, and it was hard on everybody. Thankfully, no accidents occurred over the entire week.

Life in the line trade

This job is not for everyone, and not everyone wants to be a lineman. If you are capable to do this job, however, you can make a good living. I have been able to raise three kids, and they all were able to attend college. This industry has been good to me.

Plans for the future

I’d like to go with my wife to Alaska on a cruise, and may­be Hawaii. We also look forward to spending more time with family in Ohio and Munford, Alabama.


About Willie Turner

  • Born in Talladega.
  • Married to his wife, Patricia, for 41 years. They have three children: a daughter, Mashonda, and two sons, Willie Jr. and Kevin.
  • Is the first lineman in his family.
  • Enjoys fishing and watching his seven grandchildren play softball, baseball and basketball.
  • Inspired by Jesus Christ, the greatest gift from God.
  • Can’t live without the bucket truck.

Birmingham March home sales increase from same period last year

Birmingham March home sales increase from same period last year

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

Sales: According to the Greater Alabama Multiple Listing Service, the Birmingham metro area* residential sales totaled 1,125 units during March, 103 units or 8.6 percent above the same time last year. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.

For all of the Birmingham area’s housing data, click here. 

Forecast: March sales were 31 units or 2.6 percent below our monthly forecast. Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) year-to-date sales forecast projected 2,843 closed transactions while the actual sales were 2,820 units, an unfavorable difference of 0.8 percent.

Year-to-date home sales in Birmingham through March are up 6.5 percent over last year.
Year-to-date home sales in Birmingham through March are up 6.5 percent over last year.

Supply: The Birmingham area housing inventory in March was 6,946 units, an increase of 6 percent from March 2015 and up 44 percent from the March peak in 2007 (12,524 units). March inventory in the Birmingham metro area also decreased 20 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with seasonal patterns and historical data indicating that March inventory on average (2011-15) increases from February by 2.1 percent.

According to the Greater Alabama MLS, in the Birmingham metro area market, there were 5.7 months of housing supply during March, down favorably from 5.8 during March 2015. Months of supply decreased favorably from February (6.2 months of supply). The “months of housing supply” is a simple calculation – homes listed (supply) divided by homes sold (demand). In general, about 6 months is considered the point of equilibrium during March.

Demand: March residential sales increased by 32 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data indicating that March sales, on average (2011-15), increase from February by 26 percent.

Existing single family home sales accounted for 84 percent (down from 86 percent during March 2015) of total sales while 13 percent (up from 11 percent in March 2015) were new home sales and 3 percent (unchanged March 2015) were condo buyers.

Pricing: The median sales price in March was $178,000, an increase of 4.7 percent from last March ($170,000). The March median sales price also increased 4 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data (2011-15) indicating that the March median sales price on average increases from February by 4.9 percent. Pricing can fluctuate from month to month as the sample size of data (closed transactions) is subject to seasonal buying patterns. Consulting with a local real estate professional who has access to pricing data at the neighborhood level is recommended.

Industry Perspective: “Growing pessimism over the last three months about the direction of the economy seems to be spilling over into home purchase sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The gap between the share of consumers who think the economy is on the wrong track and the share who think it is on the right track has widened, nearly matching its reading last August, when concerns regarding China and oil prices led to the biggest stock market plunge in years. In turn, we saw dips this month in income growth perceptions, attitudes about the home selling climate, and job confidence, all of which contributed to the lowest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) reading in the last year and a half. These declines seem to be at odds with recent news of solid overall job creation, but may reflect weakening economic performance in certain industries.”

For the full report, click here. 

The Birmingham Residential Monthly Report is work product developed in conjunction with the Greater Alabama MLS and the Birmingham Association of REALTORS to better serve Birmingham metro area consumers.

Dining Out For Life® 2016 today, Thursday, April 28th!

Dining Out For Life® is an annual fundraising event that takes place in over 60 cities throughout North America in order to raise money for AIDS service organizations.  AIDS Alabama produces this event each April with help of generous volunteers, corporate sponsors, and restaurants.  More than 30 local restaurants have helped AIDS Alabama raise over $100,000 since the launch of this event in 2009!

Participating in Dining Out For Life is easy- dine out at a participating restaurant on the day of the event and at least 25% of your bill will be donated to AIDS Alabama.  With the exception of the annual licensing fee of $1,150, all of the money raised helps AIDS Alabama to continue our services for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Current 2016 Participating Restaurants:

5 Point Public House Oyster Bar
Avo
Bamboo on 2nd
Bistro V
Bottega Cafe
Bottle & Bone
BYOB (rocks)
Cantina Tortilla Grill
Carrigan’s Public House
Chez Fonfon
Chez Lulu

Chris Z’s
Crestwood Coffee Company
DeVinci’s Pizza
Dram Whiskey Bar
El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar
Full Moon BBQ- Southside
Jackson’s Bar & Bistro
Little Donkey
Little Savannah Restaurant & Bar
MELT
Moe’s Original BBQ-Lakeview
Mugshots Grill and Bar – Inverness
Ocean
Paramount
Rojo
Rogue Tavern
Silvertron Cafe
Slice Pizza & Brewhouse
Ted’s Restaurant
Todd English P.U.B. 
The Filling Station
The Grill at Iron City
The J. Clyde – 100% of dinner!
Urban Standard
Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato
Vino