With more than 50,000 jobs lost after the 2008 crash, its number of publicly traded companies more than cut in half over the past 15 years, and the county in which it resides filing for bankruptcy protection five years ago, Birmingham, Ala., wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a comeback in luxury housing. But as Wall Street Journal staffer M.K. Quinlan explains, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Now, Birmingham is making a comeback—which for luxury home buyers means the return of bidding wars, lengthy home searches and rising prices.

Finding a home is especially competitive near downtown. Apartment and condo developers are taking advantage of that opportunity.

In 2015, developers spent $725 million on projects and planning in the city’s downtown, according to the Birmingham Business Alliance. Industrial mills, left empty as the city’s steel and iron industries have waned, as well as the once tony Pizitz department store, are being converted for office, retail and residential use. Approximately 2,000 new apartments are currently under construction, as well as downtown’s first full-scale grocery store and pharmacy since the 1960s, a Publix set to open in December.

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