As a full service design/build firm, we keep an eye on the blend of business in our trading area (Birmingham, Al and its surrounding suburbs). Early in 2015 and accelerating into 2016 we have seen a shift in the project mix toward larger and more ambitious projects, particularly additions and multi-room/whole-house remodels. Why? Clues come from where the projects are happening; namely homes in the $400,000+ range in close-in suburbs. It appears to us that people are increasingly wanting shorter commutes and/or want to be close to the action of downtown. Zillow’s Zestimate app suggests that they are willing to pay a premium to do so. While total Jefferson County posted a 5.7% increase in home value over the past 12 months, Homewood averaged 10.1% across all price tiers. The same general relationship seems to hold in other close-in neighborhoods but is most pronounced in the $400K+ range. “Middle tier” Mountain Brook homes (According to Zillow, avg $575K) and “top-tier” Vestavia homes (avg $561K) show particularly sharp growth in value. Areas further out such as Hoover and Trussville are appreciating but not at the same high rate.
We find that clients for larger projects have typically gone through a very similar thought process before deciding on an addition or ambitious floor plan change: 1. They evaluate the suitability of their current home to their lifestyle and decide change is needed. 2. Then they work through the pluses and minuses of the buy/build/addition/remodel approaches to getting what they want. 3. After looking at other locations, they ultimately find that the real estate maxim of “location, location . . .” holds true for them. With the value of their properties appreciating well and low lending rates still available, they’re saying “let’s make it happen right here”.
If you’re in the process of considering whether an investment in an addition or reconfiguration of your home might be right for you, please contact us. We can help you distill your planning and evaluation process and, if the time is right, design and build a custom answer that’s perfect for your goals