Alabama Tourism and Baldwin County Economy Info

Posted by Aaron Pugh on Monday, October 28th, 2013 at 7:31am.

Real Estate Rebound

     The local economy is moving in the right direction and this is partially due to the real estate market, according to Lee Lawson, president of Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance (EDA), based in Robertsdale, AL.  Lawson's recent comments were received at the Coastal Economy Outlook VI, the annual seminar produced by the University of South Alabama's Center for Real Estate Studies and Economic Development at which he outlined the various areas where Baldwin County experienced economic growth.
     Baldwin County had a “good solid year coming out of the recession,” having a population growth rate of over 2% bringing the total to approximately 190,000;  a 30% increase over the last 10 years.
     The Alabama Gulf Coast beaches of Baldwin County are the most visited areas of the state with over 5 million tourists in 2012 alone.  The beaches continue to provide the largest economic impact for the county, Lawson said.  He pointed out that retail sales at the gulf are up 3.7% from 2011 and have grown significantly over the last decade showing the healthy impact tourism has on our county.
     Tourism may provide the majority of jobs in the county including accommodations, food services and retail sales, but the real estate industry is the third largest employer in county, Lawson said.  One of the best indicators of a healthy real estate market is the percentage of new building permits, which are back to levels not seen since 2007 – 2008.  Lawson also noted that residential sales are up as well as condo sales.  “We have a very healthy real estate market right now,” Lawson said.  “All indicators are trending in the right direction.”

UPCOMING CHALLENGES

     Looking ahead, Baldwin County has a number of growth-related issues to address, Lawson said.  “For example, it's expected that the county's population will probably grow by another percent over the next 10 years, so it's incumbent upon us to understand what that means in terms of infrastructure and schools,” Lawson said.  Another challenge is the need to develop a more diversified job base, Lawson asserted.  He noted that the recent recession, oil spill and weather events make a tourism-based economy vulnerable.  “Tourism will always be important to the county and the state as a revenue source;  that is our brand,” he said.  “So we are looking to help diversify, not encroach on or damage that sector.”
     Baldwin County provides about 90,000 jobs, and has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state of Alabama.  While the numbers dropped in 2007 and 2008, “the bar is going up in almost every category in our county.”
     In closing, all of the information discussed at the seminar point to the improvement of the economy and the need to not be complacent.  While tourism is the staple of business along the Gulf Coast and the beaches bring in tourists from all over the U.S., it's important to evolve with the times.  We have a great resource and we must protect it as it protects us from situations that could be much worse.  You can find all of the Baldwin County real estate details, new listings and other info on our primary site by clicking here:  Gulf Coast Real Estate

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