MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Explosive economic growth continues relentlessly across the Huntsville area with thousands of jobs being created and record, active construction across the city.
More homes were built in 2020 in Madison County than any year in recorded history, building officials said.
The record-breaking year, with about 4,000 homes built, happened during some of the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s an economic perfect storm happening in the Huntsville area right now and there appears to be no end in sight.
“To go a step further, I don’t think we’ve seen the actual spike in this whole thing yet,” said Randy Cunningham, Huntsville’s inspection director. “I think we still have a ways to go.”
Cunningham, who supervises Huntsville’s 19 building inspectors, uses the word ‘phenomenal’ when describing economic growth in North Alabama.
“Phenomenal I would say not only in the jobs that have been created but doing the sheer number of residents and commercial real estate that’s been going on,” Cunningham said. “I would say phenomenal would be a good adjective for that.”
Similar words are used by every building official we reached out to for this story.
“I’m proud of that,” said Steve Woodard, Madison County’s building official. “I’m also proud that we have a community where there’s cohesiveness with the builders, with the other code agencies, whether it’s Huntsville, Madison, Decatur or Athens.”
Despite there being 4,000 homes constructed across Madison County in 2020, that’s not enough to keep up with population growth – it needs to be closer to 5,000 homes per year to catch up with demand, said Barry Oxley with the Huntsville Madison County Builders Association.
It’s likely 2021 and 2022 will have similar headlines, ‘most homes constructed in recorded history.’
Despite the dangers and working restrictions of COVID-19, the area’s building inspectors have risen to the increase in demand for their services.
“We have a tremendous group of folks who work with us and they have stepped to the plate and they’ve done a tremendous job and couldn’t be prouder of them,” Cunningham said.