Resales are often hard to predict, but the general health of the economy in this area has been very good when compared to other areas. Our home inventories are actually beginning to decrease, because sales of "used" homes have shown a good growth since January and the upward trend appears to be continuing.
Welcome to the North Alabama area. I believe you'll enjoy your time here.
If you were staying 2 years or less, I would say rent because it would be much tougher for you to break even on the sale, although not impossible. It all really depends on your particular situation. For some people, renting/leasing for 3-4 years makes sense.
As far as resale history, it would help to know what type of home you're going to be looking for. Certain types of homes have better resale value and sell quicker than others. Decatur is a city with many different types of homes and areas.