The Best Counties to Buy Land in Alabama

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The Best Counties to Buy Land in Alabama

Bart Waldon

Alabama, known for its diverse landscape and rich history, has become an increasingly popular destination for those looking to invest in land. According to a recent study by the Alabama Department of Revenue, the state has seen a 15% increase in land sales over the past five years, with a total of 45,000 acres sold in 2022 alone. With its growing economy and affordable land prices, Alabama offers a unique opportunity for investors and homesteaders alike. 

For prospective land buyers and investors, Alabama offers diverse landscape options spanning mountains, rivers, beaches and bayous. The state sees moderately growing population and business formation figures, making certain counties prime for future development. Here we spotlight 5 top Alabama counties for land purchases based on key aspects investors weigh.

Baldwin County

Situated along Alabama’s picturesque Gulf Coastline, Baldwin County takes the crown for statewide population growth over the last decade at 16.5%. The county attracted over 8,100 new residents in 2021 alone as people flock to its idyllic small towns like Fairhope and Spanish Fort nestled along Mobile Bay. But don’t let the tranquil beach vistas fool you - Baldwin hosts a business-friendly economic climate as well. The county just announced 500 new jobs stemming from corporate expansions, underscoring vigorous development.

Why Buy Land Here? 

With sizzling demographic growth driving housing demand plus steady corporate migration and infrastructure projects underway, Baldwin County presents perhaps Alabama’s strongest overall real estate growth potential. Whether commercial site speculation or plots for future residential builds, Baldwin lands merit consideration.

Madison County

Known as Rocket City thanks to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Madison County revolves around the thriving North Alabama metropolis of Huntsville. Recent stats peg Huntsville as America’s 11th fastest growing major metro area, expanding its population over 12% since 2010. Huntsville also boasts the most engineers per capita nationwide as aerospace, defense and tech giants flock to the region. Madison lands host burgeoning new housing plus commercial sites catering to the influx of families and professionals.

Why Buy Land Here? 

With NASA, the FBI and other major employers driving record growth in Huntsville amid NAFTA corridor highway access, Madison County presents robust demand for still buildable lands on the metro’s periphery. Buyers should watch key highway interchanges, subdivisions and industrial areas primed for commercial or residential builds.

Lee County

Anchored by Auburn University and neighboring Opelika, Lee County landed the #1 spot as Alabama’s fastest growing county from 2010 to 2020 at over 17%. As one of Alabama’s economic powerhouses, Lee saw 3,700 new residents in 2021 alone. Recent infrastructure projects also enhanced access and connectivity throughout the county. New schools, retail centers, subdivisions and corporate sites abound around Auburn as prosperity reshapes the landscape.

Why Buy Land Here? 

Surging population and business growth coupled with Auburn’s worldwide reputation make Lee County a focal point for residential or commercial development in East Alabama. Land around Auburn and gateway corridors merit investor attention.

Shelby County

Representing Alabama’s primary industrial center outside Birmingham, Shelby County hosts over 500 major manufacturers. Blue-chip global companies like Mercedes Benz, Honda, Verizon Wireless and more operate massive operations in Shelby. Thanks to unparalleled access where I-65 and I-459 meet, Shelby enjoys infrastructure advantages many counties envy. 38 new manufacturers recently located in Shelby, exemplifying brisk expansion.

Why Buy Land Here? 

Home to Alabama’s highest median household income, Shelby County offers superb stability with major industry clustered around highway and rail access. Logistics and distribution sites strongly fuel commercial property demand, alongside steadfast needs for upper-middle class housing.

Limestone County

Flanked by massive Redstone Arsenal and the expanding Mazda-Toyota manufacturing plant, Limestone County borders Huntsville’s northern metro edge. It therefore benefits directly from Rocket City’s hypergrowth. Representing a popular bedroom community with Interstate access, Limestone’s population jumped 12% from 2010-2020. The county just announced its largest-ever economic development project in 2022 - a 1,500 job nitrile glove plant worth $220 million.

Why Buy Land Here? 

Limestone lands present ripe opportunity for residential or industrial builds as business migration near Huntsville hardly shows signs of slowing. Limestone offers proximity to Huntsville’s technical talent and cultural perks without the associated price premium.

Prime Land Potential Around Major Alabama Cities

Beyond the counties above which exhibit exceptional economic momentum lately, buying land around any of Alabama’s fast-growing major metros often proves wise as suburbs expand outward. Cities like Huntsville, Birmingham, Auburn and Montgomery see construction cranes pepper the skyline. New housing subdivisions, retail centers, restaurants and corporate campuses follow young families and professionals migrating in. Raw land around cities allows buyers to get in early before site prep and infrastructure drives values upward.

Land Around Birmingham Offers Redevelopment Potential

Despite decades of urban growing pains, Alabama’s largest metro area encompassing over 1 million residents shows serious bounce-back recently. Birmingham city itself drastically reduced crime while earning accolades for its resurgent food scene and hip neighborhoods. Major corporations like Mercedes Benz, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Regions Bank anchor the metro economy. Ensuring easy Atlanta access, Birmingham just completed a major Interstate expansion through downtown with walkable new parks flanking the corridor.

Surrounding areas like Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills contain Birmingham’s most desirable addresses for executives. Thus, land around the metro’s prosperous southern suburbs could accommodate executive homes or commercial sites. Birmingham’s revitalized downtown also fuels demand for urban builds or adaptive reuse projects renovating old warehouses. Once-blighted northern industrial zones now also see fresh residential development anchoring hopes of continued transformation.

Savvy buyers monitor routes between Birmingham’s affluent southern suburbs and reviving downtown for value-add land plays or holds for future retail redevelopment. With proactive leadership finally steadying Birmingham’s ship amidst regional growth, the metro exhibits serious investor upside.

Riverside Plots Near Mobile Draw Interest

Like Birmingham, coastal metro Mobile demonstrates considerable turnaround momentum after economic struggles copying Gulf economies. Alabama’s only saltwater port city boasts unique assets and captures growing investment. Having surpassed 445,000 residents during 10% population growth since 2010, Mobile’s active port and bustling financial and medical sectors anchor the metro.

Downtown Mobile already underwent extensive revitalization with new businesses and condo projects energizing once-quiet streets. The city’s elegant historic mansions host tours and events, playing off Mobile’s rich culture. Recent infrastructure investments connect arteries leading out from the urban core toward growing eastern suburbs. These routes offer land probe points as residential developers eye future projects. Northern Mobile Bay also continues expanding with coastal properties, marinas and ecotourism activities burgeoning.

Astute buyers notice Mobile’s growth trajectory mirroring regional hubs like Charleston, keeping tabs especially on river or bay frontage plots before land costs outpace reach.

Land Buying Considerations Around Rural Alabama Cities & Towns

Beyond Mobile and Birmingham, Alabama hosts dozens of vibrant rural cities, college towns and state capitals constantly balancing progress against Southern tradition. For land buyers seeking more relaxed settings immersed in downhome culture, properties around regional hubs like Tuscaloosa, Florence or Dothan offer slower-paced alternatives. Strong communities, agriculture and natural splendor shape life here.

University Towns - Energetic college towns like Tuscaloosa, Auburn and Florence see retail, housing and entertainment venue turnover catering to students and faculty. Lands near campus typically demand residential or mixed-use development. However more rural plots still offer recreational potential.

State Capitals - Picturesque towns like Montgomery, the state's capital, weave deep histories into community identities as stalwart pillars of politics, education and justice. New amenities complement, not replace heritage. Land gifts views of capitol domes allow for single family homes.

River Towns - Scenic river ports along the Alabama, Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers promote downtown vitality with tourist options plus water recreation supported by surrounding agricultural industries. Floodplain restrictions require caution butbluff views retain appeal.

Coastal Hamlets - Almost forgotten burgs and villages peppering Mobile Bay enjoy renewed charm as weekend refuges or retirement havens. Investors spot marina, hospitality and residential opportunities on blue highway routes before masses discover the secrets.

Finding Promising Land Deals in Alabama

Regardless which regions intrigue, ample resources help buyers identify promising parcels for acquisition:

  • MLS Listings - National clearinghouses like Lands of America aggregate currently available plots seeking buyers. Sort by factors like location, acreage, pricing and property features. Listings provide key insights on going land rates around Alabama.
  • Real Estate Agents - Experienced Alabama land professionals stay tapped into fresh inventory in key expansion zones. They also offer propriety analysis on property viability, values and local growth trajectories not always captured by listings.
  • Public Auctions & Tax Sales - Tax assessor and sheriff offices routinely auction land parcels with unpaid tax bills per Alabama’s tax sale redemption laws. These represent opportunities for value buys if back taxes get quickly addressed after sales.
  • Estate Sales - Pending estate resolutions or individuals exiting land assets sometimes enable below-market acquisitions if negotiated judiciously. Be aware that titles may require additional legal work depending on the specific circumstances.

No universal formula decrees the guaranteed best Alabama land parcels for acquisition. But evaluating indicators like infrastructure proximity, recent builds, county expansion plans and access to amenities serves savvy buyers well when prioritizing target purchase locations. Staying alert to local development news flow also allows jumping on opportunities early before competitive bid escalation.

Key Takeaways - Prime Alabama Land Markets Exhibit Growth Tailwinds

Alabama real estate encompasses varying terrains promising activity across industries like agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, aerospace, tourism, port logistics and beyond. Yet certain regions clearly outpace from population and infrastructure dynamics better positioning communities for rising prosperity, at least for the foreseeable future. Investors stand to benefit from acquiring land early in these high-trajectory areas before values climb exponentially higher.

While no guarantees exist around Alabama’s future trends, the counties and metro zones detailed represent strong starting points for evaluating prospective land buys. Focus on locations exhibiting sustained building activity, solid household and business influx and infrastructure spending that unlocks development readiness. Identify land parcels fringing top school districts for eventual residential builds or select highway frontage for future commercial use in alignment with local expansion.

Alabama land purchasers willing to conduct diligent legwork assessing indicators county-by-county and city-by-city can realize substantial returns on raw land holdings over 3-5+ year hold periods. Paying close attention to property context reveals gems where demand drivers point clearly positive. The counties and cities rising fastest today thanks to proactive leadership and regional cooperation could very well yield outsized investor rewards in years ahead. by securing promising land stakes early in the upswing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the most affordable counties for vacant land purchases in Alabama?

Some of Alabama's most budget-friendly rural counties for raw vacant land buys include Greene, Sumter, Fayette, Lamar, and Cleburne, with per acre prices averaging between $1,200 - $1,800 based on current realtor MLS listings data.

Do Alabama land prices vary significantly between north and south regions?

Yes, land valuations typically run higher in Alabama's faster-growing southern half including cities like Auburn, Montgomery, and coastal Mobile. Northern rural counties exhibit more modest growth by comparison, with vacant acreage priced 15-30% lower than comparable southern parcels on average.

Which Alabama county has seen the strongest land appreciation recently?

Baldwin County along the Gulf Coast demonstrates Alabama’s strongest land value growth currently, seeing average per acre vacant land prices jump nearly 40% over the last 5 years thanks to surging coastal demand from both residents and investors.

What Alabama counties offer good timber or hunting land investments?

Some top counties to find investment-grade timberland or hunting acreage include Barbour, Butler, Conecuh, Covington, and Escambia counties where large timber producers are actively buying inventory and recreational demand rises.

What factors most influence raw land valuations in Alabama?

Major factors impacting undeveloped land pricing in Alabama include road/utility access, parcel size/configuration, county growth trends, proximity to metro suburbs, water features, and whether lands lie within opportunity zones or industrial parks set to attract jobs/investment.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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