[REN #636] Real Estate Market Update – Houston, Huntsville, and Birmingham

Picture of a Cityscape for Real Estate News for Investors Podcast Episode #636

Jobs attract people, and people need real estate. That’s why real estate investors should always follow where the jobs are going. Let’s look at the Houston, Huntsville and Birmingham job markets.
 

Houston

The Houston job market is showing strong growth, as the region continues to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. The U.S. Labor Department reported almost 13,000 new jobs in August, and that’s after healthy job growth in June and July. And it isn’t just the rebuilding process that’s creating those employment opportunities. The oil industry is also recovering from a 2016 drop in oil prices, so those jobs are coming back.

The Houston market also has another feather in its cap. The city council just approved almost $19 million in funding for Phase 1 of the Houston Spaceport project. It will spread across 90 acres of land at the Ellington Airport, not far from downtown Houston, and will become the nation’s tenth licensed spaceport facility. Activities will include the launching of satellites, zero gravity experiments, drone developments, astronaut training, and other services, including space tourism.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says of the project, “Houston offers a booming economy with a strong aerospace industrial base, a well-educated workforce with experience in the high-tech demands of space exploration and plenty of room from growth at a strategically located airport facility.” (1) What Houston sees in its future, is a modern hub for air travel activity that will include the shuttling of passengers to and from space.

Phase 1 will cover much of the infrastructure needs like streets, water, and electricity. It will also pay for a co-living space near the Houston Aerospace Support Center, among other projects.
 

Birmingham & Huntsville

If you’ve been trying to choose between Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama, for your next single-family rental investment, there’s a lively comparison between the two cities in AL.com. It’s called “Which city is the “Southern Silicon Valley?” Birmingham or Huntsville?” (2)

It starts off, “Birmingham is the Magic City. Huntsville is the Rocket City.” And it goes on from there comparing the strengths of both metros. The Wall Street Journal says that Huntsville represents the southern future of the tech industry, while Forbes and Barron’s are giving that title to Birmingham.

They are both thriving metros with vastly different pasts. Birmingham was built on the steel industry, and grew up as a medical mecca. Huntsville is known as a center for aerospace and research, with a lot of U.S. defense activity. According to the AL blog, they both have big universities and are both attracting plenty of start-ups.

In terms of housing, Huntsville is less expensive, although they are both comparable. The median cost of a home in Birmingham is about $218,000 while the median is just $193,000 in Huntsville.

Links:

(1) Houston Spaceport Website

(2) AL.com Article

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