The Montgomery, AL Real Estate Market: A Smart Investment in 2021?

Housing inventory in Montgomery is at an historical low, with the months of supply at just 1.8 (as of November 2020), according to the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE). 

Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory to sell at the given current sales price. The NAR reports that in markets with less than six months of supply, prices tend to rise more rapidly, which is exactly what is happening in Montgomery.

Montgomery is the state capital and is located alongside the Alabama River in south-central Alabama, roughly equidistant between the Gulf Coast city of Mobile to the south and Birmingham to the north. 

Industries such as agriculture, defense, manufacturing and education help keep job and population growth stable. The city was also a center of the Civil Rights Movement and is proud of the variety of government and nonprofit civic organizations that call Montgomery home.

Read on to learn more about how the Montgomery, AL real estate market might perform in 2021.

>>Explore Roofstock's Montgomery investment properties here.

 

Population Growth

Population growth in the Montgomery metropolitan area has declined by about 1.3% over the past decade, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, matching the rate of population change in Alabama’s other large cities of Birmingham and Mobile.

Key Population Stats:

  • Montgomery is home to nearly 206,000 people in the city and more than 373,000 residents in the metropolitan area.
  • Population in Montgomery declined by 0.3% last year but has been trending upward since 2016.
  • Montgomery is the 2nd-largest city in Alabama and is the 118th-most populous in the U.S.
  • Median age in Montgomery County is 35.6 years with a gender ratio of 53% female vs. 47% male.
  • More than 600,000 people live within a 50-mile radius of Montgomery County, Alabama.

 

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Job Market

Under the brand “Made in Alabama," the state recently set a new record with $8.7 billion in new investment and created 17,000 new jobs. As the capital city of Alabama, Montgomery receives its fair share of economic stimulus and activity.

Key Employment Stats:

  • GDP of Montgomery is more than $16.2 billion, growing by nearly 2% over the past year and by more than 7% over the last ten years.
  • Forbes also ranks Montgomery as one of the top 200 places for business and careers and the cost of doing business.
  • Montgomery has received more than $500 million in investments, thanks to the Made in Alabama initiative.
  • Job growth in Montgomery declined by 0.3% last year, according to Forbes.
  • Unemployment rate in Montgomery is 7.3% and has steadily declined over the past year, based on research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Median family income in Montgomery is $51,074, about the same as the amount in Alabama.
  • Cost of living in Montgomery is 8% below the national average and ranks lowest among the other Southeastern state capital cities, according to Forbes.
  • Key industries in the greater Montgomery area include military and defense, advanced manufacturing, cyber & tech, medical, and automotive.
  • Largest employers in Montgomery County include Maxwell/Gunter Air Force Base, State of Alabama, Montgomery Public Schools, Baptist Health, ALFA Insurance Companies, City of Montgomery, and Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka.
  • Industrial employers in Montgomery include Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, automobile parts manufacturer MOBIS Alabama, Koch Foods, GKN Aerospace, International Paper, and Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.
  • Alabama State University, Troy University, Auburn University at Montgomery, University of Alabama Birmingham, and Faulkner University are among the biggest public and private colleges and universities in Montgomery.
  • Over 89% of the residents of Montgomery are high school graduates or higher.
  • Nearly 35% of the people in Montgomery hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree, about 1.3 times the rate in Alabama.
  • Interstate highway I-65 connects Montgomery to Birmingham and Huntsville, and I-85 leads northeast to Atlanta.
  • Montgomery Regional Airport is served by American Airlines and Delta with direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

 

Real Estate Market

There is still more demand for homes in Montgomery than supply, although rental property investors may begin to find good deals. According to a recent report from Attom Data Solutions, distressed sales in Montgomery made up 15.9% of all sales in the third quarter, one of the largest in cities with populations of at least 200,000 people.

Key Market Stats:

  • Median listing price of a home in Montgomery is $147,300, according to Realtor.com (as of November 2020).
  • Square foot listing price of a home in Montgomery is $84, although prices have been trending up year-over-year.
  • Home values in Montgomery have increased by 6.6% over the past 12 months, based on the most recent information from Zillow (October 2020).
  • Over the past five years, home values in the Montgomery region have grown by nearly 14%.
  • Median days on market is 50.
  • Sales of homes in Montgomery are up 41% year-over-year, and median sales prices have increased 24% over the last 12 months.
  • Inventory is down 42% year-over-year, with only a 1.8 month supply of homes for sale in Montgomery, according to the Alabama Center for Real Estate.
  • Of the 16 neighborhoods in Montgomery, Hampstead is the most expensive to buy a house, while Rosa Parks-Five Points is the most affordable neighborhood with the lowest median listing prices.

 

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Attractive Renters’ Market

Montgomery is ranked by WalletHub as one of the best cities for renters, and the 50th best area in the country for the rental market and affordability. Montgomery also has one of the best rent-to-income ratios in the U.S., making it very attractive for people to rent where they live instead of looking for a house to buy and a good market for rental property investors.

Key Market Stats:

  • Median rent in Montgomery is $895 per month for a three bedroom home, according to Zumper (as of December 2020).
  • Rents in Montgomery have increased by nearly 5.0% over the past 12 months.
  • Vacancy rate for rental units in Montgomery is 8.08%, below the rental vacancy rate for the State of Alabama.
  • Median household income in Montgomery is $51,074 while per capita income is $27,861.
  • Single-family homes make up 72% of the housing units in Montgomery.
  • 46% of the housing units in Montgomery are renter occupied.
  • Most affordable neighborhoods for renters in Montgomery, Alabama are Highland Park, Garden District, and Forest Park, where rents average between $795 and $849 per month.
  • Old Cloverdale and Brentwood are two of the most expensive neighborhoods for renters in Montgomery, where rents can go for $1,050 and more per month.

 

Historic Price Changes & Housing Affordability

Analyzing historical price changes and the affordability of housing are two metrics real estate investors use to help forecast the potential performance of rental property in a given market.

Every month, the FMHPI by Freddie Mac reports historic price changes for housing markets throughout the United States. 

The most recently released FMHPI for Montgomery shows that home prices have increased by nearly 15% over the last five years. Over the last 12 months home prices in Montgomery have risen by 6.5% and by 0.5% month-over-month (as of October 2020).

Housing affordability compares the median cost of housing in a given market compared to the median income needed to purchase a home. 

The Alabama Housing Affordability (AHA) Index uses 100 as a baseline number to provide an index score by market. The further from 100 the AHA Index score is, the more affordable a housing market is, all other things being equal.

The Third Quarter 2020 Alabama Housing Affordability Index report from the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama gave Montgomery an AHA Index Score of 220.0, while Mobile received a score of 222.0 and Birmingham a score of 181.0. This means that, based on the AHA Index Score, buying a house in Montgomery is more affordable than Birmingham or Mobile.

 

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Quality of Life

Many people moving to Montgomery are amazed by the warm Southern hospitality, low cost of living and high quality of life. The job market is a balanced blend of production and service sectors. World-class culture, vibrant retail and dining, and state-of-the-art healthcare give Montgomery a small-town charm that’s hard to find in other cities of similar size.

Key Quality of Life Stats:

  • Montgomery receives high ratings for amenities and cost of living from AreaVibes.
  • U.S. News & World Report gives Montgomery County strong scores for population health, economy, and infrastructure.
  • Niche.com ranks Montgomery as one of the best cities in the U.S. for low cost of living, one of the best places to retire, and one of the most diverse cities in America.
  • Montgomery has been featured in 13 different movies, including The Rosa Parks Story, Heavens Fall, and Selma.
  • Metropolitan Montgomery serves as the region’s healthcare hub and is home to several hospitals including Baptist Medical Center South and Jackson Hospital.
  • Forbes recently wrote about the arts scene in Montgomery, spotlighting the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice as two of the city’s many must-see attractions.

 

Get Out the Map

Where to begin your search? Roofstock created a heat map of Montgomery based on our Neighborhood Rating, a dynamic algorithm that enables you to make informed investment decisions by measuring school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria.

Montgomery Heatmap

DARK GREEN: 4-5 star neighborhood
LIGHT GREEN: 3.5-4 star neighborhood
YELLOW: 2.5-3 star neighborhood
ORANGE: 2 star neighborhood
RED: 1 star neighborhood

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Jeff Rohde

Author

Jeff Rohde

Jeff has over 25 years of experience in all segments of the real estate industry including investing, brokerage, residential, commercial, and property management. While his real estate business runs on autopilot, he writes articles to help other investors grow and manage their real estate portfolios.

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