Projected median sales prices for single-family homes:
Q1 2008: $134,580
Q4 2009: $140,920
Growth rate: 4.7 percent
A low-wage backwater at the beginning of the decade, Mobile is emerging as the South's next boomtown and a magnet for megaprojects. The biggest is a $3.7 billion steel mill that German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp is building north of Mobile. It will create 2,700 jobs when it opens in 2010, generate almost twice as many spinoff jobs, and bring in 30,000 workers during the construction phase. Next up is a new container terminal that will catapult Mobile into the big leagues as a shipping port. At the top of the food chain, aerospace contractor Eads just opened a facility on Mobile Bay where 150 high-earning engineers will design Airbus's long-range jets.
Just how great is that for the housing market? Mobile has seen scant home construction during the past two decades, and a housing shortage means the real estate market is set to heat up. Already, a three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot home that sold for $157,000 a year ago now goes for about $170,000. The trend has captured the notice of speculators from California, Colorado, and Florida.