From the Talladega mountains to over 60 miles of beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama offers amazing scenery. The state is also home to over 25 different waterfalls and hosts beautiful wildlife.
Alabama is noted for its low cost of living and real estate prices. This makes investing in real estate in the state ideal for anyone on a budget, portfolio investors or retirees.
Some call Alabama the “cotton state” due to the plentiful farmlands and cotton production, others call Alabama “the Heart of Dixie” due to its geographical location. Despite this, the official state nickname is the Yellowhammer state, due to its national bird.
Another thing Alabama is well known for is its food. Beyond country food and Alabama’s famous barbecue, you can find plenty of Chinese, Mexican, and seafood eateries across the state. This can also be seen at the many different fairs and festivals which are common across the state.
Southern hospitality isn’t just a rumor in Alabama. The locals are some of the kindest and most genuine people that you can meet in the United States.
Last but not least the state is great for sports fans! Whether it is the famous Talladega racetrack commonly seen in Nascar, or college football, Alabama is full of sports enthusiasts.
Alabama & Employment
One of the larger employers in Alabama is the U.S. government, with the Maxwell Air Force Base and the Missile Defense Agency located in the state. Other than that there are many employed by the University of Alabama and the public school system. Tech and aviation companies have also been flourishing in the Yellowhammer state. This includes IBM, Boeing, and Torch Technologies to say a few.
Honorable Mention – Pelham
Just 20 miles south of Birmingham, Alabama, sits the relaxed and laid-back municipality of Pelham. The Oak Mountain State Park is right nearby, which offers amazing bike & hiking trails along with scenic waterfalls. Pelham is also a great spot for fishing with a handful of creeks and lakes crisscrossing the municipality. That and there is the Ballantrae Golf Club, a highly rated semi-private golf club for golf-lovers.
The population of Pelham has grown by 15% since the 2010 census and is growing at a rate of 0.89% per year. This brings the number of residents to just below 25,000. The average age of the population is a bit above average at 40 as is the rate of homeownership which is listed at 85%. Average rent is listed as $1,159 while the cost to purchase a property is listed at $269,000, a 16% increase since 2021. The attractive prices of property and scarce inventory for rent can make Pelham a unique opportunity for property investors.
10 – Spanish Fort
Right across the bay from the larger city of Mobile, Alabama sits the city of Spanish Fort. It is also just 50 miles away from the white sandy beaches of Pensacola, Florida. Spanish Fort has a long history, dating back to 1712 and was the backdrop to an important battle in the civil war. The city is home to 3 different golf courses and has scenic views of Mobile Bay to the west.
The population in Spanish Fort has grown at a rate of 2% per year, and by 46% since the 2010 census. Average rent is listed as $1,172 per month while housing prices have increased by 23% since 2021 and is $347,000 on average. The rate of homeownership is slightly below most cities and is listed at 61%.
9 – Madison
Part of the Huntsville Metropolitan Area is Madison, Alabama. It was also the center of a Civil War battle. For years the city was a small town, but after the 1950’s NASA and the military moved operations nearby. The city has experienced another major growth spurt since the 1980’s and hasn’t slowed down since. Today, the city is primarily known for its close proximity to Huntsville and its many parks.
Madison is also growing at a rate of 2% per year and has seen a 27% increase since the 2010 census. The residents of Madison seem to have a high level of educational attainment with the majority attending some college. This may be due to the fact that the largest employer is Intergraph, a software company. Rent seems to be rather low and is listed at $946, while average housing is $349,250 on average, a 23% increase since 2021.
8 – Fairhope
Just roughly 10 miles south of Spanish Fort is the city of Fairhope. It also sits on the coast of Mobile Bay and has beautiful beaches that stretch along the city’s western border. The city is also home to 2 different golf courses, a handful of parks and a municipal pier. There is also a museum of history, an art center, and a branch of the University of South Alabama. Fairhope is also the home of the musician Jimmy Buffet, who is most known for his song Margaritaville.
The population of Fairhope has increased by 59% since the 2010 census and is growing at a rate of 2% per year. The population of Fairhope seems to be slightly above average in age, with the median age being 43. The rate of home ownership is also above average with 78% owning their residence. Average rent is $1,196 while housing has increased by 25% in the past year and costs $418,500 on average.
7 – Robertsdale
Halfway between Fairhope and Pensacola, near the Florida, Alabama border sits Robertsdale. The city was the hometown of Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook. Robertsdale is a municipality that is full of small-town suburban charm. One of the larger employers in Coca-Cola who operate a bottling plant in the city and the NOLF Summerdale Airport.
Robertsdale is growing at a rate of 2.23% per year and the population has increased by 38% since the 2010 census. As a small town, the number of residents is low and totals at 7,292 people. The rate of homeownership is rather low with just 57% owning their homes, while others rent. The average property has increased by 25% in the past year bringing housing to $225,000 on average. Rent on the other hand is low and listed at $800 per month.
6 – Helena
Just 20 miles south of the city of Birmingham is the municipality of Helena. The town has been ranked highly in both Business Week and Money Magazine as one of the best cities to live in and raise children. Helena has a very long history and was established in 1840. Sadly some of the historic buildings were ruined by a tornado. Despite that Helena retains its deep-south, small town charm.
Helena’s population has grown by 24.97% since 2010 bringing the number of residents to 20,986 currently. Its growth is listed as 1.72% per year. The rate of homeownership is extremely high and is listed at 93%, which could be an advantage for buy-to-rent property investors. Rent seems to be higher than other areas at $1,341 on average. Property prices have increased by 17% and stand at $309,000 on average.
5 – Gulf Shores
At Alabama’s most southern point, on the Gulf of Mexico sits the well-named municipality of Gulf Shores. As the name suggests, the city has plenty of pristine beaches with crystal clear waters. The city offers many different wildlife reserves, hiking trails, and golf clubs. Besides the natural beauty, there is also a local airport, plenty of restaurants, a zoo, and many spas.
The population of Gulf Shores includes many pensioners, which may explain the many golf courses. The median age is 49 years old. The number of residents has grown by 37% since the 2010 census and is growing at a rate of 1.69% per year. The rate of homeownership is rather low at 56% which means many rent. Possibly because of the vibrant rental market average rent is listed as $1,086 per month. The price of property is rather high and is $407,971 a 28% increase since 2021.
4 – Foley
Roughly 10 miles north of Gulf Shores is the landlocked neighbor city of Foley, Alabama. Being so close to Gulf Shores means that the pristine beaches aren’t far away. Foley is home to the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center and Foley Municipal Airport which provides employment to the locals. Boeing also has a small office near the center of town.
Foley’s population has grown by 70% since the 2010 census and 6.39% annually. Like Gulf Shores, the residents in Foley are older on average with a median age of 47 years old. Unlike Gulf Shores, the rate of homeownership is average and stands at 66.4%. Average rent is listed at $855 per month and home prices are $264,398 a 26% increase since 2021.
3 – Pike Road
Pike Road is an oddly named township just 17 miles south-east of Montgomery, Alabama. The small municipality is full of small lakes and has Little Catoma Creek running throughout its territory. Many of the houses in the area are large villas or mansions typically built in a Southern style on a larger plot of land. This grants the town a very unique southern charm that is not typically seen anywhere else than Alabama.
Pike road is home to many young families with children. The majority of the population is educated with most attending college or more. As many as 84% of the residents are homeowners, making it interesting for investors. Pike road has grown quite a bit with a 106% increase since the 2010 census, bringing the number of residents to 11,182. The municipality is growing at a rate of 3% per year currently. Housing prices have increased by 15% since 2021 and stand at $357,200 and rent is above average at $1,253 per month.
2 – Chelsea
20 miles south-east of Birmingham, Alabama is the small municipality of Chelsea. It’s mostly a quiet suburban neighborhood filled with trees and a few creeks that branch across the city. In addition to that there are a handful of public parks and the Indian Hills Country Club for entertainment. The Oak Mountain State Park is also a stone toss away which offers great trails for hiking and mountain biking.
Chelsea has grown by 56% since the 2010 census bringing the number of residents to 15,908. It is growing at a fast pace of 3.54% per year. The rate of homeownership is extremely high with 94.3% of the residents owning their property. Low inventory may be the reason that rent is rather high at $1,448 per month. Housing prices have increased by 18% since 2021 bringing the average property’s value to $339,910.
1 – Calera
South of Pelham and southwest of Chelsea sits the municipality of Calera. The city is home to the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum and Corbin Farms Winery. The University of Montevallo and Shelby County Airport are also in close proximity. There is also a local golf club and many parks within the city. The name of the city means “quarry” in Spanish, and the region is known for its limestone deposits.
Calera is Alabama’s fastest growing city and has grown at a rate of 37% since the 2010 census. The number of residents is now listed at 15,962 and the city is growing at a rate of 2.67% per year. The majority of residents are young with many families with children in the area. Homeownership is high at 81%. Rent is listed at $1,068 per month and home prices have increased by 15% since 2021 bringing prices to $216,200 on average.
Alabama & Real Estate
Alabama is a state with a low cost of living, plenty of employment opportunities, and full of breathtaking scenes. The state is also growing at a very fast rate of 0.26% per year. As such the Yellowhammer state is a great spot for real estate investments. The slightly lower entry prices for property can also make the state a great spot to open a portfolio of properties. All things considered there’s a lot to love in Alabama!