Sandwiched between Mississippi and Georgia in the southeast of the United States of America is Alabama, and sweet home Alabama it may well become for you!
Homely and cosy as the state may be, Alabama has a rich and varied history and is home to landmarks from the American Civil Rights Movement to explore.
Should you be looking to make the infamous Lynyrd Skynyrd song your new family motto then there are some factors to take into consideration first. Finding information on house prices and cost of living can be a long and arduous task, and we know you want to focus on the fun parts of relocating, like house hunting.
To make your life a little bit easier we have analysed the statistics and compared the market to find the best places to live in Alabama based on cost of living, access to public schooling and a great many other factors that you probably haven’t even thought about yet!
Let’s take a look at our 15 best places to live in Alabama:
Madison is the best place to live in Alabama for so many reasons. Scoring highly across the board on niche.com you will surely fall in love with this small but perfectly formed town; home to 45,590 people.
Having listened to what local people have to say about the area we were delighted to hear they like how culturally and ethnically diverse Madison is. They say that there are plenty of job opportunities in the area due to the Redstone Arsenal Military Base being just around the corner. For those who work in the engineering industry, it seldom gets better than Madison.
Having a strong military community here means that there are lots of family-oriented events and fairs throughout the year. There are some of the best schools in all of Alabama here in humble Madison too.
2. Vestavia Hills
As suburban Alabama goes there is nowhere quite like Vestavia Hills in Jefferson County, an outcrop of the city of Birmingham. This safe and secure suburb has all the charm you could wish for with the added bonus of an open-armed community that is long established and dying to meet you.
House prices in the Vestavia Hills area are really varied which has helped create a suitably diverse population of 34,116 people.
The median home value may be $346,400 but should you be able to triple that amount you invest in a stately 5-bedroom home on Woodridge Place, with 5-bathrooms and small estate to match.
Should you have a smaller figure to play with, say $229,900 you could move into a spacious 3-bedroom family home with double garage and generous gardens.
Just north of Vestavia Hills is the smaller, cosier neighbourhood of Homewood. This is somewhat more affordable than Vestavia Hills but is no less charming, believe us!
Rent in Homewood will be music to tenant’s ears for it is bang on the national average at $929 a month. With 44% of the resident population of 25,000 people living in rented properties, it’s suffice to say there is always ample choice for prospective tenants.
Being that little bit more affordable, Homewood is very popular with young millennials who are seeking to invest in their first family home. Real estate agents see Homewood and Vestavia as one and the same. With development an almost certainty in the area we can predict that these suburbs will merge into one; no bad thing indeed.
4. Mountain Brook
Northwest of Vestavia Hills and a touch closer to Birmingham’s CBD is the neighbourhood of Mountain Brook. Although pretty close to the business quarter there is still a suburban feel to the area, as opposed to a frenetic city, urban feel.
House prices are stepper here, given the proximity to the city centre the median home value of $545,900 is fair. Houses here do offer great value for money, regardless of the price tag. Big, spacious homes with vast gardens to match.
Mountain Brook is marked as the best suburb to raise a family in all of Alabama and being the best schooling district in the state it is not hard to see why! The schooling district spans into Vestavia Hills offering parents tonnes of choice.
Should you wish to be close to Birmingham but not live in it’s glorious shadow then perhaps the small town of Hoover is worth a moment’s thought. Home to 83,547 people, this town is too in Jefferson County.
House prices here are on par with Vestavia Hills and Homewood too, with the added benefit of having the ever exciting Oak Mountain State Park right on your doorstep, itching to be explored.
The residents of Hoover are by no means affluent but nor do they struggle to get by, with a median household income of $77,146 annually, it is safe to say that the people of Hoover live comfortably.
Auburn, in Lee County, is the most affordable of our best places to live in Alabama to date. With a median home value of $220,000 and median monthly rent of just $813, there is a lot to love about Auburn, particularly the price!
There are a lot of young people growing up in Auburn, 15% of the population are of school age. An impressive 28% of residents have a Master’s degree or higher so for those who want to live surrounded by a more education driven crowd then Auburn is the place to be.
Having heard what parents who live here had to say we concluded that they cannot find one bad thing to say about the schools on offer in Auburn, not even if they tried.
This is one of the smaller suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama and one of the slightly more affluent. Median household income here is $92,193 so families here are better off, in general, than those in Hoover, for example.
Although only home to just over 8,000 people there are an impressive 31 public schools that fall within the Meadowbrook schooling district giving parents access to some of the best schools in the state, in turn giving their youngsters an outstanding start in life.
Residents often note that if they had to live their lives over again, they would still choose Meadowbrook; what more of a compliment can you give?
8. Indian Springs Village
Being a suburb of Birmingham, Indian Spring Village is a little deceptive in its name, don’t you think? An urban village we shall call it! Being home to just 2,500 people there is certainly a village-like feel to this neighbourhood, for people are friendly and welcoming.
Tenants may find finding a property in Indian Springs Village pretty darn tough for only 5% of people live in rented properties. Get searching! Median home value is $311,600 but given the close proximity to Birmingham city centre and bordering Oak Mountain State Park it is hard to haggle prices down much further.
For $287,000 you can invest in New England style terraced house on Meadow Garden Lane with abundant gardens and private driveway; great value for money to say the least.
Residents can’t help but sing Fairhope’s praises. On the banks of Mobile Bay, feeding into the Atlantic Ocean you get the best of both worlds here in Fairhope; close to the sea and Founder’s Park too.
There is a small town feel to Fairhope in Baldwin County, home to just 17,300 people this really is a gorgeous place to live. Despite being on the seafront, house prices here are greatly affordable, on average home value is $238,800 making it affordable for many working-class American families.
Small it may be but there are always a good range of properties on the market at any one given time.
Fairhope’s downtown area is lively and vibrant with copious restaurants, bars, and boutique shops to explore.
Helena is another suburb of Birmingham to feature on our list of 15 best places to live in Alabama and deservingly so. With home value lying at $181,900 on average, Helena is one of the best places to buy a property in Alabama.
Despite the suburban nature of Helena, there is no rabbit warren feel, houses are almost all detached and come surrounded by generous gardens or at very least a backyard and private driveway.
Being such a small community you’ll not be surprised to hear that there are very low crime rates here; this can be due, in part, to the middle-class nature of residents who earn $84,615 on average each year.
The city of Huntsville is home to an impressive 185,594 people, being a less business-oriented city there is a much better cost of living here. Rent is extremely low at just $733 on average per month and there is a good availability of rental properties too.
Huntsville is home to the US Space and Rocket Centre that boasts the Saturn V Rocket and other awesome artifacts from space travel and exploration. Not a deciding factor we’re sure but it’s good to give you an idea of what else is on offer in Huntsville other than house prices and cost of living!
Residents note that Huntsville is wonderfully diverse, unlike many other areas of the southern states; this diversity is welcomed and cherished by those who live here.
Alabaster is a large suburb of Birmingham, compared to small and cosy Meadowbrook that’s for sure! 31,905 people call this Alabaman neighbourhood home and overall this is a well-performing area, if niche.com’s statistics are to be taken as gospel that is.
This is a perfectly affordable area and being so close to Birmingham there is no short supply or work opportunities around here in the business centre. Like we said, with 31,900 in the neighbourhood there are shops, restaurants and entertainment venues that are always on the lookout for staff.
It is possible to find property in Alabaster for under $100k but you would be taking on a shell of a house in need of TLC.
13. Brook Highland
With house prices nearing $334,000 on average, and rent sitting below the national average it will come as no surprise to read that Brook Highland is home to 7,032 people, 55% of which live in rented properties.
There are some quite outstanding houses on the market in Brook Highland that are by no means aspirational for the average working family. This neighbourhood is fast becoming popular with millennials so we can expect to see growth in the area in the not so distant future.
When hearing what locals had to say, the only complaint was that the summers are very humid, something for our frizzy haired friends to keep in mind!
Although Alabama’s state capital is Montgomery, the city of Birmingham is the focal point, in terms of business and desirable neighbourhoods to reside in. This fact leads us onto another Birmingham suburb to feature on our list, Pelham, which can be found just south of Indian Springs Village on Route 65.
Quality housing here in Pelham is in no short supply and is considerably more affordable than Vestavia Hills, coming in on average at $164,300. Being so affordable and with good access to jobs in the city, there is a diverse group of residents here across the socioeconomic scale.
By no means the worst place to live in Alabama, rather rounding off our list of best places to live in solid form is the suburb of Calera.
Renting here is an option but only for those who have upwards of $1000 a month to spend on a home. With house prices averaging at $138,100 some would argue it is sensible, in the long run, to get a mortgage and invest in your own property here in Calera.
This is a great school district and with 38 public schools on offer, there is a great deal of choice for parents. From elementary level to middle school and beyond, there are some outstanding educational establishments here.