If you’ve never been to Birmingham, Alabama, you might picture a charming Southern city surrounded by mountain ridges and sweeping green space. Or, you might think of key moments in the nation’s history during the Civil Rights era. And you’d be right.
If you’ve been there, you likely picture Vulcan — the world’s largest cast iron statue — overshadowing the city. And you’d also be right.
But the Birmingham, Alabama real estate market has much more to offer.
Birmingham attracts a lot of renters
Birmingham is a city of renters. Renters make up 54% of residents. Rent prices are also increasing, with a recent 1.4% year-over-year price growth.
That largely comes down to a thriving labor market attracting young professionals to the area. In 2021, more people were moving into Alabama than moving away, thanks in part to remote work shifts during the pandemic as professionals traded densely populated urban areas for smaller cities across the county.
Younger workers often opt to rent, especially immediately after relocating to a new area, which drives up the demand for rentals and the average rent price.
Even post-pandemic, Birmingham continues to see an influx of young professionals — primarily millennials — moving in because the city is changing.
This brings us to…
From manufacturing hub to a knowledge economy
Since its founding, Birmingham has been a regional hub with deep roots in manufacturing, particularly ironworks.
Seriously, Vulcan (not coincidentally, the Roman god of fire and forge) really does loom over the entire city. The statue’s bare buttocks alone are rumored to be as wide as a city bus. That’s a big (pun intended) commitment to the iron industry.
But that’s changing.
In recent years, Birmingham has started to shift from a manufacturing hub to a knowledge economy. Today, healthcare is the city’s largest industry.
Birmingham is low-key famous
Birmingham has its fair share of famous ties. Courtney Cox, Gucci Mane, and Condoleezza Rice (to name a few) are all from the area. But the city is also home to two very famous locations.
The Club, a longstanding nightclub, was the inspiration behind the multi-colored floor used in Saturday Night Fever. While The Irondale Cafe was the inspiration for Birmingham native Fannie Flagg’s successful novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.
Birmingham really is that green
If roots in mining and manufacturing conjure up images of a smog-filled industrial area, think again. Birmingham is packed with urban green spaces.
Red Mountain Park alone offers hiking trails, dog-friendly spaces, zip lines, and historical sites. The area is also 40% larger than New York City’s Central Park.
Birmingham did prohibition twice
To put it mildly, Prohibition wasn’t widely popular nationally. But Alabama thought they’d give it a shot … twice.
First, Jefferson County (where Birmingham calls home) banned the sale of alcohol from 1908 to 1911. Then, the state enacted a statewide ban from 1915 to 1937 — four years after Prohibition was repealed nationwide.
Fun fact: What The Associated Press once referred to as “bone dry Alabama” wasn’t so bone dry after all. Dr. David J Hanson of State University of New York in Potsdam said, “In the first year of the new law, Alabama became the leading state in the country in the number of illegal moonshine stills found.”
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