Almost half of renters in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, a state that a recent report from Harvard University classifies as cost-burdened.
More than a quarter, 27.7 percent, spent more than half of their income on housing, according to the State of the Nation’s Housing report from 2017. Those people are considered severely cost-burdened.
The numbers are fairly close to national averages, according to the report. Nationally, 48 percent of renters spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing, compared to the Birmingham area’s 45.9 percent, and 26 percent spend more than half. Read more.
2016 could be a very good year for business expansion and employment in the Birmingham area, except ….
That’s a bottom line from conversations with people who have fingers on the economic pulse of the area: Andreas Rauterkus, Associate Professor in University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business; Devon Laney, President and CEO of Innovation Depot, and Art Carden, Associate Professor of Economics, Brock School of Business at Samford University.
On their lists of 2016 stories-that-matter on the local economy:
You’re going to the doctor more. That’s a good thing.
Healthcare and financial services are dependable pillars of the Birmingham economy, and 2016 should be a good year for those enterprises, Dr. Rauterkus says. Local unemployment is down from recession levels, and that helps healthcare. “People go to the doctor more,” he explains. In financial services, most Birmingham-area businesses have little international exposure which means
Start with distinctive assets like UAB, Southern Research Institute, Railroad Park, and historic downtown buildings. Decide collectively how to use those to help transform Birmingham into one of the country’s centers for innovation. Market that innovative city to the nation and world.
That was the assignment put on the table for people who can make things happen in Birmingham by Brookings Institution Vice President Bruce Katz, an influential Washington, D.C.–based policy expert who recently spent two days in Birmingham.
A national advocate who believes cities must lead economic development and change dysfunctional politics visited Birmingham Thursday, and this is what he quickly noted:
A downtown still anchored by handsome old buildings, something gone in many places. The rail lines. “Crazy amounts” of affordable housing. The presence of a major health and science research university. Challenges, including addressing poverty and identifying local companies known worldwide for their work.
An economic development tool credited with facilitating more than $170 million in development in Birmingham faces an uncertain future after being pushed aside by lawmakers preoccupied with the state’s budget battle.
An effort to renew Alabama’s historic preservation tax credit was derailed in the spring and has been expected to be renewed early next year. But a leading opponent said he may move to block renewal of the credits even if a state study concludes that they are effective.
State Sen. Lee Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, is waiting for completion of a state study of the law’s effectiveness before taking a formal position, he said, but his opposition to the use of tax credits in general may lead him to try to block renewal of the incentive regardless of the findings.