Home sweet home: Families making the move to Shelby County

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Terry and Jennifer Capton don&8217;t want to be anywhere else.

The married couple of two years expects their first child this coming January, and have chosen Shelby County as their new home.

&8220;This area is growing so fast,&8221; Terry Capton said. &8220;We can get a really great deal on a good house in a great neighborhood. It&8217;s really a win-win situation for us.&8221;

They are just one of many families moving to Shelby County, regardless of whether they&8217;re expecting their first born or sending they&8217;re youngest to college.

Realtors across Shelby County are seeing a boom in their business – citing good schools, a rural setting, good prices and an increase in new housing developments for the influx of new families.

&8220;The school system being so good and the beauty of this area are real high points,&8221; Century 21 realtor Anita Dutton said. &8220;Shelby County is a reasonable distance to most working areas, but far enough away that you&8217;re not surrounded by urban development.&8221;

Dutton said in her 11 years of selling homes in Shelby County, popularity of the area has continued to grow.

&8220;As shopping and other amenities come to the area, people are willing to move farther away from the city center.&8221;

New homes, new families

Margie Ingram, owner of Ingram and Associates Realty, said her company has seen a good increase of Shelby County home sales over the past decade, citing new developments for the growth.

&8220;We&8217;re selling 25 to 30 percent more yearly in Shelby County because of new home developments,&8221; she said. &8220;We haven&8217;t seen the normal slow down this year that we normally see. It&8217;s been busy straight through.

Shelby County has had more homes built than any other county over the past five years in the Birmingham area – by a long shot.

U.S. Census estimates released Monday showed Shelby County with a 20.5 percent increase of homes built since April of 2005.

Jefferson, Alabama&8217;s largest county, only saw an increase of 4.7 percent.

Since 2000, newcomers to Shelby County have built 12,155 homes – compared to the 13,512 homes constructed in Jefferson.

Shelby County manager of development services Ray Hamilton said the census number showed signs that the county is healthy.

&8220;Obviously people want to be here,&8221; Hamilton said. &8220;Our homebuilding industry is a large supplier of economic health for Shelby County.&8221;

Shelby still remains well behind Jefferson in overall population, with 171,000 residents compared to 657,000.

Hamilton said the numbers are a credit to the work of various county offices working to bring resident to the county.

&8220;For the department of development services and the planning commission this is a proud thing to see,&8221; he said.

Bibb and Chilton County saw increases of 2.7 and 2.5 percent while Blount went up by 3.9 percent.

New homes going fast

Dutton said there is a noticeable difference in the time a Shelby County home stays on the market compared to other areas.

&8220;They go really fast,&8221; she said.

Ingram said realtors at her office are averaging 450 home sales a month in the county.

The Capton&8217;s say they&8217;re not trying to follow a trend, but simply looking for the best place to raise a family.

&8220;When it comes to a family-friendly county, you can&8217;t really beat this area.&8221;