Birmingham, Alabama

City Guide / Birmingham

Moving to Birmingham, AL: Relocation Guide

By Landing | Jan 4, 2021

Relocating to a new city is exciting, but the moving process can be complicated and sometimes a little stressful. Doing your research, finding a fully furnished apartment in Birmingham, and getting organized can make things go more smoothly. But where do you start?

If you’re moving to Birmingham, Alabama, or are considering putting down roots there, Landing is here to help. We put together this handy relocation guide to help you cover all the bases before packing your belongings into a moving truck and settling down in The Magic City.

What to know before moving to Birmingham, AL

Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city with upwards of one million people in the metro area. Nestled into the idyllic foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it’s a truly stunning pocket of the American South. Before you decide to move, make sure you know the pros and cons of living in Birmingham.

A brief history of Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham got its first nickname, Pittsburgh of the South, from its early days as a production center for iron and steel. It’s better known as The Magic City, which is a reference to its rapid growth through the 1800s, at the turn of the century, and in recent decades.

Aside from its industrial roots, Birmingham holds an important place in American history. What’s now the Civil Rights District in Downtown Birmingham was once a primary site for many human rights demonstrations throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

The Alabama city has not forgotten its storied history. Today, Birmingham is a rich cultural hub representing the past, present, and future. From top-notch southern cuisine and a roaring community of college football fans to a bustling business district, historic landmarks in all corners of the city, and ample outdoor recreation, there’s something for everyone.

Crunching the numbers

The cost of living in Birmingham is notably low. In fact, it ranks as the eighth most affordable city in the U.S. Living expenses are roughly 9% lower than the national average, and the cost-of-living index is about 74. This means things like food, transportation, and healthcare are more budget-friendly than in most other cities; so if you’re moving to Birmingham, that is something to keep in mind. 

Not only that, but housing costs in Birmingham are about 14% lower than the national average. Even though there was a 13% uptick in home listing prices over the past year, the median is right around $170,000, which is much lower than real estate in metro areas of similar size. The median home value in Greater Birmingham is closer to $185,000, also well below average.

Apartments in Birmingham are affordable, too. Landing has many apartment rentals in the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods, including fully furnished apartments with flexible terms.

Finding a job

Affordability is one thing, but you’ll also want to think about landing a job—that is, if you haven’t already. Luckily, the job market in Birmingham is promising. The city has a relatively low unemployment rate and has seen an increase in employment opportunities in recent years.

Some of the biggest organizations in the Birmingham area include Encompass Health, Regions Bank, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), BBVA Compass, Motion Industries, and American Cast Iron Pipe Company. As for the companies rated most highly by employees, there’s Energen, Robins & Morton, Highland Capital Holding, Vulcan Materials Company, Protective Life, and Realty South.

It’s easy to see why Birmingham appeals to young professionals. If you don’t have something lined up yet, we recommend checking the careers pages of the city’s top companies (and any others you’re interested in). It might be worth connecting with a recruiter too.

Getting around in Birmingham

There are numerous ways to get around the metro area. Many people drive cars, but if you don’t own one or prefer other methods of transportation, you’ll have no problem getting where you need to be.

For one, Birmingham has decent public transit offerings. There’s the MAX, a bus that runs daily with routes throughout the city and the surrounding area. Additionally, the low-fare Megabus can get you from city to city for as little as $1 ride.

The upcoming Birmingham Xpress BRT Project is set to make the public transportation system more comprehensive, efficient, accessible, and beneficial to residents and the city as a whole. It’ll also make Birmingham more bike-friendly and walkable. Beyond that, you can use rideshare services like Uber and Lyft throughout the entire metro area to enjoy all the fun things to do in Birmingham.

Preparing for the weather

Another thing to consider before moving to Birmingham, Alabama, is the weather. If you’ve never experienced the squelching heat and thick humidity of the South, it might be alarming at first. That said, you’ll get used to it before long and may grow to appreciate the long, hot summers.

When browsing homes in Birmingham, you’ll definitely want to find a place with air conditioning. Landing has many available fully furnished apartments in Birmingham with central AC—some even have pools for cooling off on the hottest days.

Alabama is located near the Gulf of Mexico, which means it sees many of the tropical storms that make their way through the U.S. While the southern part of the state experiences hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms more frequently and intensely, Birmingham gets its fair share.

Another climate-related thing to note is that there’s a great deal of tree pollen in the air during the spring. And even in the summer and early fall, grass and weed pollen can continue to cause symptoms for allergy sufferers.

Deciding on a neighborhood

One of the most crucial decisions you’ll make about moving to Birmingham is where to live. There are many excellent neighborhoods, including historic districts and newer developments, both inside and outside the city limits. Here’s a breakdown of the best neighborhoods in Birmingham.

The best neighborhoods in Birmingham, Alabama, include:

  • Highland Park, a historic and diverse wooded community near the Business District
  • Forest Park, a family-friendly area with great schools and quick access to downtown
  • Downtown, a lively hub with condos and lofts that appeal to young professionals
  • Lakeview, a historic urban district with a trendy nightlife and dining options
  • Red Mountain, a popular neighborhood known for the iconic Red Mountain Park
  • Southside, a diverse and hip mixed-use community near UAB
  • Five Points South, a close-in neighborhood with easy access to the rest of the city
  • Greystone, a planned community with golf courses, parks, and shopping

The best suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama include:

  • Vestavia Hills, a small, safe city with excellent public schools and amenities
  • Mountain Brook, an upscale community with low crime and top-tier schools
  • Homewood, an amenity-rich suburb with good schools and hiking trails
  • Hoover, a burgeoning town with a dense suburban vibe
  • Trussville, a fast-growing suburb with easy access to Birmingham

Needless to say, you’ve got quite a few options. Whether you’re leaning toward a close-in historic neighborhood, a master-planned suburban community, or something in between, Landing takes the pressure out of apartment hunting. Here’s how.

Locking down an apartment in Birmingham

Here at Landing, we’re on a mission to change the way people rent homes. We offer thoughtfully designed, fully furnished apartments that are much more flexible than your typical lease, but also more wallet-friendly than a hotel. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about putting down a deposit or signing a long-term lease.

Our Birmingham units are equipped with all the essentials and amenities you need to feel at home. We’re talking stainless steel appliances, smart TVs, in-unit washers and dryers, WiFi, air conditioning, comfy beds, luxury bedding, and 24/hour concierge service.

There’s a lot to love about the city of Birmingham, Alabama, and endless opportunities are calling your name. Ready to say hello to a modern renting experience and officially become a Birmingham resident? Book your furnished apartment in Birmingham today or contact us with questions about our rentals.

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About the author

Landing

Fred may be the world's slowest typist and struggle to hold a pen, but he has mastered how to pursue a more flexible lifestyle throughout his airborne adventures around the U.S. Whether you're looking for more information before migrating to a new city or want to find an easier way to rent a nest—erm, apartment—Fred will always be here to share his best advice for where to live and how to thrive.