Huntsville makes the hard pitch


The transfer of 4,700 jobs to the Huntsville, Alabama area under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closures act are on track and scheduled to be complete in 2011, an Army official said Friday. While some of them will come from Georgia, many of these people and positions will come from Alexandria, Crystal City and other parts of Northern Virginia.

Alabama officials are already making their pitch. “Families moving with the BRAC relocation will find favorable housing costs, low cost of living, and inexpensive property taxes in the Huntsville Alabama real estate market,” Move to Huntsville spokesman Mike Manosky said. “From a financial point of view, transferees fro Northern Virginia should find enough relief to make the move worth their while.”

Alabama will also see its first four-star command thanks to BRAC. As for 2008, the Tennessee Valley BRAC Commission states that the 2nd Recruiting Brigade facility should be completed in time to house the 2nd Recruiting Brigade that will relocate this year. That will put roughly 700 transfers at the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. this year.

The 2007 Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison named Huntsville real estate the most affordable residential real estate market in Alabama, Manoksy said. “When looking at a 2,200 square-foot house with four bedrooms and two and a half baths, the average cost for Huntsville was $212,183. “Find that same house in Alexandria, Va. and the price skyrockets to $771,500, Manosky said.

A cost of living comparison from shows that an annual income of $120,000 in Washington DC is equivalent to approximately $78,000 a year in Huntsville. “Put another way, relocation from the Alexandria area to Huntsville is almost like getting a 50% pay increase,” Manosky said.

The comparison shows that in Huntsville groceries were 14 percent less, utilities were 29 percent less, transportation was 7 percent less and healthcare was 18 percent less than in Alexandria.  Groceries were 3.9 percent less, utilities 4.1 percent less, transportation 3.6 percent less and healthcare 12.4 percent less in Huntsville than in Atlanta.

Alabama has some of the lowest income tax and property tax rates in the nation, Manosky said.  A home valued at $100,000 in Huntsville would have a property tax bill of less than $600. “Not true in Virginia,” he said. “Another item to consider is that retired military and civil service income is exempt from personal income tax in Alabama, making this state an ideal place for those planning to retire from military vocations.”

Manosky said that from a financial point of view, transfers from the Alexandria area “should find enough relief to make the move worth their while.”