October 20, 2023 11:00am

Birmingham's housing market

Influential leaders sound off on home prices in the region

Photo of Ty West
Birmingham, AL Correspondent

Influential Birmingham leaders believe the metro area’s housing stock has grown unaffordable for many buyers and is continuing to trend in that direction.

That’s the takeaway from the latest Birmingham Power Poll, which asked local leaders to weigh in on the current state of housing in the region.

Nearly 49% of respondents said local homes are slightly unaffordable, while 15% described them as extremely unaffordable.

By and large, they don’t expect the challenge to get easier, with 43% saying homes are currently getting less affordable.

Like in most of the country, home prices in the region trended upward for years before reaching even loftier heights during the pandemic. While the market has generally cooled off from those heights, inventory remains slim and prices are still elevated. The Federal Reserve’s moves to raise interest rates in hopes of taming inflation haven’t helped.

Power Poll respondents blamed supply and demand (43%) and interest rates (38%) as the leading factors for rising home prices.

One thing respondents don’t agree on? Apartments.

Respondents were divided exactly 50-50 when asked if they would be in favor of adding more apartments to their city or suburb if it made housing more affordable overall.

Local real estate insiders have previously told the Birmingham Business Journal that Birmingham is one of the more challenging metros to get suburban apartment projects approved — and there have been several high-profile examples of apartment projects facing stiff resistance over the past decade, with residents expressing concerns over property values, traffic and school crowding, among other factors.

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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