Best Suburbs to Buy Luxury Real Estate in Birmingham, AL
If you’re looking to buy a luxury home in Birmingham Alabama, you’ll probably find lots of gorgeous homes in the near south side of the city in communities like Redmont, Forest Park and off Highland Ave. Forest Park and Redmont Park are urban neighborhoods on the cities commonly called the “Southside”. They were both developed in the early 20th Century (1914 and 1925 respectively) and have flourished in the last twenty years. Forest Park suffered through the 1960s and 1970s only to return to its former glory through gentrification in the 1980s and 1990s.
Redmont Park has some of Birmingham’s grandest mansions peering down on the city from Red Mountain, a steep 350-foot-tall ridge that overlooks the city below. Both Redmont Park and Forest Park are very small with a few hundred homes each. Along with the contiguous gentrified neighborhood of Highland Park, these three neighborhoods are the only upscale places left in the central city.
If you’d prefer a quieter lifestyle away from the bustle of the “Magic City” however, you’d do better looking just to the south of Birmingham. The city’s best suburbs include – Mountain Brook, Vestavia, Liberty Park, Shoal Creek, Mount Laual, Homewood and Greystone – have all the peace and quiet you love, and each is fewer than 20 miles outside of downtown Birmingham. Read more at Grinkmeyer.com
Mountain Brook is a large suburb with about 21,000 residents. Local wags refer to it as “The Tiny Kingdom” due to its insular culture and social dominance. Despite the fact that Mountain Brook dates back to the 1920’s it is the wealthiest community in the state of Alabama, boasts one of the top three school systems and has the lowest crime rate in the city. It’s a city of villages; Mountain Brook Village, Crestline Village and English Village making it a highly walkable community. Mountain Brook was ranked number two on Business Insider’s “Best Suburbs in America."
Mountain Brook, without question, is the place where Birmingham’s upper class lives along with a good portion of the metro area’s upper-middle class. Few wealthy suburbs in the United States command such a disproportionate majority of a metro areas wealthy and influential families. Mountain Brook has more than 80% of Birmingham’s Social Register families and anyone with a shred of social aspiration must live within its golden boundaries.
The median home value in Mountain Brook is $538,500, but also includes incredible luxury real estate like the Donnachaidh-Roberts Estate built in 1929 currently on the market for $2,990,000. The home sits on 2.9 acres of manicured, park-like acres resembling an English Manor House. It features original details like antique European chandeliers, 20-foot ceilings, and an elegant combination of Italian tile and rich hardwood flooring and 1600's French mantal bring refinement to the home’s great room.
You’ll also find homes built more recently in the 1950’s through the 1990’s, beyond that any new construction has accrued resulting from the demolition of older homes to build newer homes. Mountain Brook is also the home of the Botanical Gardens, the Birmingham Zoo and the Birmingham and Mountain Brook Country Clubs.
The Mountain Brook public school system is rated the highest in the state, and the suburb unquestionably has the largest number of Birmingham’s movers and shakers. It is home to the blue-blooded Mountain Brook Club and the The Country Club of Birmingham as well as the social matrix of clubs and social alliances associated with the wealthy.
Greystone and Liberty Park
Greystone and Liberty Park are similar in that they are relatively new, gated master-planned communities centered on golf courses both developed in the early 1990’s. They are both unusually large in scope and have developed neighborhoods with distinctly different price points. Of the two, Greystone has a wider range of single family houses ($200,000 to $3,000,000). Liberty Park is uniformly more expensive although it has a high-end rental complex that is carefully segregated from the expensive single-family homes. Each of these developments will have close to 3,000 housing units when complete, and a majority of those homes will be worth more than $500,000.
Greystone was Birmingham’s first gated country club community started in the early 1990's. It's within the city of Hoover but has its own elementary school and feeds one of the top three high schools, Spain Park, in the state. Here you’ll find 1,200 homes built around two championship golf courses about 15 miles south of Birmingham city center. Located at the southern end of the 280 corridors, Greystone has been extremely successful despite worsening transportation problems associated with 280.
The original homes, built between 1992 and 2006, are positioned around the Founders Course while the newer homes are positioned around the Legacy Course. These newer homes feature open floor plans with gourmet kitchens suited for both family life and entertaining. You’ll find large master suites often with a patio views of the golf course. Such a home is located at 1387 Legacy Drive, a designer inspired home being offered for sale for $935,900.
Greystone offers a Country Club lifestyle not only for the golfer but also swiming, tennis, equestrian facilities, and a social club. It is a perfic place to raise a family in a safe gated community.
The second gated community is called Liberty Park. This master planned community is located on a lovely patch of rolling wooded land that is ideal for beautiful homes. Liberty Park is part of Vestavia Hills, Birmingham’s second wealthiest suburb (after Mountain Brook) and its second highest rated school system. Vestavia Hills is a large (30,000) overwhelmingly white upper-middle class suburb.
An incredible place to live, Vestavia was ranked number thirty-second on Business Insider’s “Best Suburbs in America.” A swiftly-growing population of 34,000+ residents enjoy a neighborhood feel while within 10 miles of center city, schools that consistently make it into the top five in Alabama. Median home value in Vestavia is $335,055.
Homes range in price from $250,000 to $3,000,000. Homes like 2000 Ves Trace Circle take advantage of the rolling foot-hills of the Appalachian Mountains as its backdrop for luxury living. This home provides the best of modern home amenities while an unsurpassable outdoor entertainment center with pool/ spa, cabana, 2 outdoor kitchens, sport court and fire-pit.
Vestavia is a quick commute to Birmingham-Hoover and “maintains its southern hospitality while being the fastest-growing town in Alabama.” The city boasts a great school system and median household income of $85,417.
Highland Lakes, is a very large gated community located out the 280 corridor in the rolling Appalachian foothills south of the city.
After more than twenty years of development, only about 100 of the 230 large wooded lots in Shoal Creek have had houses constructed on them. Shoal Creek is both a private golf club and a private residential community. Conceived by Hall Thompson the golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus has won international recognition and played host to two PGA Championships and one US Amateur Championship. It will host the LPGA Chanpionship tournament in 2018.
The Old Estate of Shoal Creek: A 4 Bedroom 4.5 Bath, Georigian Architecture inspired custom home, built in 1987. It’s nestled on 1.8 acres overlooking forth tee box of the fabulous Shoal Creek golf course. This is a family home that offers privacy along with the Country Club atmosphere.
This home is also perfect for entertaining, it has a private veranda witha a relaxing water feature, 2 gazebos–1 nestled in woods off the golf course and the other off the veranda with rock a fireplace. The chef’s kitchen boasts a 6-burner gas cook top, double ovens, new Subzero fridge, Shaker cabinets & wet bar with wine cooler (wine cellar in basement). The grand foyer includes beautiful double curved stairway, and the adjacent library has cherry paneling with another fireplace carrying on the Georigian Architecture influence. The spacious master suite includes a fireplace, a large bath with dual vanities, jetted tub, separate shower, and one of the two balconies on second level. The second level also features an additional bedroom and bath, an office, two cedar closets and large laundry with sewing area. The third level includes a bedroom, oversized bedroom with fireplace and desk area, wet bar and walk-in attic storage. Other features include an elevator, hardwood floors, backup generator, and a total of five fireplaces.
The Village of Mount Laurel
Mount Laurel is one newly developing community that merits mentioning. If you’re a fan of New Urbanist design principles, Mt. Laurel is a planned community in the middle stages of development on the far urban fringe of the metro area. Sales have been slow in spite of a charming and unusual design aesthetic.
Homewood is Ideally located in the metro area, Homewood is a predominately lower-middle class suburb adjacent to Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills. Most of Homewood is made up of well-maintained bungalows and small homes and it has a considerable number of rental apartments. Thanks to a strong sales tax base, Homewood has managed to maintain a good school system and has continued to attract young families that have turned vast tracts of forgettable bungalows into beautifully remodeled houses in tidy wooded neighborhoods.
Homewood has two very interesting upscale neighborhoods: Mayfair & Hollywood. Hollywood has a wonderful collection of stuccoed, flat roofed houses built in the 1920s that have been remodeled for the 21st Century. Hollywood has great architecture and a great location. Mayfair is more traditional, with its rolling, heavily wooded landscape, it share’s Hollywood’s ideal location for getting anywhere in Birmingham.
At this second, writing this article, I am sitting right next door to my apartment building on the brand new Rotary Trail.
The sun is setting, the “Magic City” sign is changing from red to white, there is a black family with their kids that are playing on an abstract cement seat, a preppy looking young white father and his two toddler children walking by, a young hippie couple admiring the trail, Zyp bikes flying above me on 1st Avenue South, and runners galore. Read More
“How did you end up in Alabama?”
It is a question I ask people all the time.
I use to ask it with a tone of disbelief. Yet, I would meet people from New York, California, England, South Africa, and many other places, all of whom wound up in Birmingham.
Why would they move from these amazing places — places that I always have wanted to visit — to Birmingham, Alabama? And if it was something temporary, such as school or a job that brought them here, why did they stay?
Having lived much of our lives outside of the City, why move into the City?
We’ve made our livings in the City of Birmingham, but so do many other non-residents.
So, what compelled us to want to make the City our home?
First, and foremost, we were done being in the suburban bubble.
Kerry Grinkmeyer is with RealtySouth in Birmingham, Alabama.
Kerry specializes in the marketing and sale of luxury homes.
Call Kerry at 205 919 6006 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org