Home construction trends vary throughout Alabama. In addition to different styles and layouts, there are also trends about what’s happening below the home.
Basement foundations are not as common in Alabama as they are in other states. Find out what’s affecting basement trends in the state and which Alabama city has the highest concentration of basements.
What Percent of Alabama Homes Have Basements?
Our latest real estate report reveals that only a small percentage of homes in Alabama have basements.
To better understand basement construction in the state, we used Zillow’s data on recently sold homes. Looking at single-family homes in each county, we calculated the ratio of homes with basements. This snapshot of data about recently sold homes begins to reveal regional trends about Alabama’s home construction. Both finished and unfinished basements were included in the analysis.
In Jefferson County, home to Birmingham, about 20 percent of homes have basements. That’s significantly more than the next city on the list, Tuscaloosa, which has basements in only about five percent of homes.
|Alabama County and City||Percent of Homes with Basements|
|Jefferson County (Birmingham)||20%|
|Tuscaloosa County (Tuscaloosa)||5%|
|Lauderdale County (Florence)||4%|
|Shelby County (Alabaster)||3%|
|Dale County (Ozark)||2%|
|Lee County (Auburn)||2%|
|Etowah County (Gadsden)||1%|
|Calhoun County (Anniston)||1%|
|Dallas County (Selma)||1%|
|Mobile County (Mobile)||1%|
|Coffee County (Enterprise)||1%|
|Marshall County (Albertville)||1%|
|Russell County (Phenix City)||0.9%|
|Madison County (Huntsville)||0.8%|
|Talladega County (Talladega)||0.8%|
|Houston County (Dothan)||0.6%|
|Montgomery County (Montgomery)||0.6%|
|Morgan County (Decatur)||0.5%|
|Limestone County (Athens)||0.4%|
|Baldwin County (Daphne)||0.3%|
Why Are Basements More Common In Some Areas?
Building a home with a basement is a structural decision that’s influenced by several factors, the first of which is that basements require excavation, making them more expensive to build. Many newer homes are built with slab foundations or use pier systems to stabilize a foundation without needing a basement.
The number of homes with basements in an area is also influenced by the frost line. Placing the footings of a home foundation below the frost line helps anchor the structure of the home and reduce shifting when the soil heaves in the winter or contracts in the summer. In colder climates and northern states, many more homes have basements because the frost line is deep below the surface of the ground. However, in Alabama, the frost line is less than a foot below the surface of the soil. Digging down eight feet to create a basement isn’t necessary.
Basement design is also influenced by local water risks. Because basements are below grade, a flood in the area could cause much more property damage to homes with basements. Also, in marshy areas or areas with high water tables, the water in the soil creates water problems for homes, requiring basement waterproofing to keep moisture out of the home.
What’s the Future of Basement Design?
The role of basements in the home is changing. The multipurpose spaces have become very useful during the pandemic as homeowners need extra square footage for home offices, homeschooling, at-home gyms, and more.
According to a 2020 report from Homes.com, basements are a trending feature among homebuyers, and interest in homes with basements increased fourfold compared to the previous year. This means the rare Alabama homes with basements could be more valuable in the current real estate market.
More homeowners are also refinishing existing basements to get the most out of the spaces. This puts waterproofing systems in the spotlight as a way to help homeowners protect new floors and furnishings from water damage. For example, these Alabama fan caves likely used waterproofing to protect their team memorabilia, big-screen TVs, and game-day furniture.
Sign up for a free inspection from the foundation and waterproofing experts at AFS to learn how you can make the most of your basement.