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The first-time homebuyer’s guide to Birmingham, AL

Relocating is more than just moving into a new home – it’s also about moving into a new community that reflects your lifestyle and personal values. Here’s how to find the best neighborhoods to live in Birmingham, AL.


Known as “Magic City” for its rapid growth during the manufacturing age of the late 1880s, Birmingham’s ascent from a humble stop along the North and South Railroad to a booming industrial center is nothing short of miraculous. Over the past century, it has transformed into a prosperous city with first-rate amenities, desirable neighborhoods, and a vibrant downtown. 

Tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it’s home to a diverse population of more than 197,000.  It serves as the seat of Jefferson County and is its most populous city to date. Encompassing roughly 150 square miles in the north-central region of Alabama, Birmingham’s location in the Jones Valley makes it an attractive option for those who want easy access to hiking trails and scenic overlooks. 

Birmingham consistently ranks among the places to live in the United States for outdoor leisure, culinary scene, world-class entertainment, job opportunities, and prime real estate.The best neighborhoods to live in Birmingham, AL are within walking distance of award-winning restaurants, shops, and cultural venues. With a high quality of life, this city is considered as the South’s best-kept secret.

Accessible via Interstate 20, I-59, and I-65, Birmingham offers residents efficient public transport with city buses, the Amtrak train station, and a well-developed transit network. The city also has biking infrastructure and bike share programs. 

The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is located roughly five miles from downtown. The airport is serviced by six airlines, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, with more than 100 daily flights to 17 destinations throughout the U.S.

A short history of Birmingham, AL 

Founded in 1871 by a group of railroad investors, the city lies at the junction of two rail lines near one of the richest mineral deposits in the world. Named after Birmingham in England, which was also a thriving industrial center in the United Kingdom, it became the seat of Jefferson County in 1873. It weathered the cholera epidemic and economic panic that same year to become the steel and iron center of the American South.

The opening of the Pratt Mines and Sloss Furnace in 1882 made excellent use of the abundant deposits of iron ore, coal, and limestone for smelting, making steel, and manufacturing cast-iron pipe and wrought-iron furniture. Birmingham has since diversified its economy to become a banking and medical research hub, although manufacturing and coal mining are still major sectors.  

Fun facts

A snapshot of the real estate market

The Birmingham residential real estate market is quite robust with home prices rising steadily over the last decade. The demand for housing is partly driven by the strong job market, which is expected to grow and to continue attracting top talent from all over the nation. Birmingham is home to Regions Financial, a Fortune 500 company, and five other Fortune 1000 companies, which contribute to economic growth. 

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), an esteemed research university with a 43-acre campus, also attracts a large student population each year, driving the demand for housing. There were 22,563 students enrolled at UAB for the academic year 2020-2021. Although the university has residence halls, many students choose to live off-campus, finding rentals in the best neighborhoods to live in Birmingham, AL. This makes the city an attractive option for property investors.  


Just sold in Birmingham: a 4-bed, 2.5-bath, 2,238-square-foot home close to the University of Alabama

How to choose the right neighborhood 

With so many amazing neighborhoods in one city, choosing is truly the hard part. Here are some tips for selecting the right neighborhood in Birmingham: 


Shopping and entertainment

Parks and recreation


History, art, and culture

Festivals and events


Find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood in Birmingham with Sold By The Bell, LLC. Contact us at 205.440.0860  orsend us an email here

Our real estate group is mostly made up of women with a strong, fierce, and independent spirit. As the #1 Team in Keller Williams (KW) Hoover for 2020 and #1 Single Agent for 2019, we create a smooth and finely-tuned process for all our clients from contract signing to closing. Fun, successful, and family-oriented, we think outside of the box to solve problems, create opportunities, and stand out in the Birmingham real estate market.

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