Saturday, September 15, 2007

Livable places in US: Huntsville, AL

You can laugh about Alabama. I did, until I came down for a job interview. Huntsville, AL is a great place. Because of the research park, there are people from all over the country. NASA and the Army's Redstone Arsenal have need for 30K to 50K high tech jobs.
Huntsville is a very high tech city, it has the 2nd largest research center in the US.

Brick houses (new) for under $100 a square foot. A brand new 4 bedroom, 3 bath 2500 square foot brick rambler on 1/3 of an acre in a new neighborhood for $240K. And it's not ramshackle construction.

Overall, AL has the lowest taxes in the US. Good schools, thanks to NASA and the rocket scientists at the Redstone Arsenal.

Insurance is a fraction of what I used to pay. Property taxes are less than 1/2 what I used to pay in a top 10 city for a house half that size. Electricity is cheap, thanks to the Tennessee Valley Authority. Gas is about the same as anywhere else, but there's no commute! No traffic! No crime! Do you know why there's no crime? Most of these people go to church! They have morals! It's not like NY City or Chicago, where you have to have Police on every street corner to keep the peace.

On top of all this, I'm making more than I was in the big city! It is 3 hours to Atlanta, 5 hours to the Gulf Coast. 90 minutes to Nashville, Birmingham, or Chattanooga. 3 hours to Memphis. It's 4 hours to the Smoky Mountains.

Winters are really mild, summers can get hot, but aren't as bad as Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, or Florida. It's not as humid as Florida or the other neighboring states. It's not as dry, or as hot, or as polluted as Southern California or Phoenix.

Huntsville is a northern city transplanted in the south.

Read what the AC said in this post. I'd write everything he said but I'm lazy. I'm an engineer, I work on Redstone Arsenal here in Huntsville, AL. Housing is cheap. Taxes are cheap. Utilities are cheap. While I was in college (I went to UAH []) I was paying $350 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment. My wife and I just purchased a brand new brick home for $80 a square foot. Other homes in town, new, brick are going for $51 by reputable builders. My utilities bill is averaging $150 a month, including getting the lawn started (lots of water) and kids. Summers are freaking hot, being from Wisconsin, but the air conditioning is good and the house is well-insulated. Get a DirecTV so you can watch "real" sports

1 comment:

yogijp said...

I had to travel to Huntsville a few times for NASA work. It got barren pretty quickly when you drove anywhere and it was brutally hot. People who lived there said it was too hot in the summer to do much of anything and the lack of any pedestrian features (like sidewalks) encouraged a lot of the waistlines I saw. One local even said he felt safer visiting Boston than being in downtown Huntsville after dark. Most of the jobs and companies down there are dependent on government $ which means that they are at the mercy of politics. The focus on the military also means there is little variety in the types of jobs available.