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The Rebirth of New Orleans

The Rebirth of New Orleans will most likely come through the realtors. There is a huge expectation that the renewal efforts, combined with the largest rebuilding project ever attempted in the countries history, will create huge opportunities in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

The Chicago Tribune has a good article on the rebirth:

All dressed up with no place to go, three dozen agents at New Orleans’ oldest real estate firm gathered in a west bank Presbyterian church Tuesday for their weekly sales meeting, hoping for words of encouragement amid sprawling residential ruin.

Sitting beneath large velvet banners that read, “Lamb of God,” “Prince of Peace” and “King of Kings,” the spoken message from the head of real estate firm Latter & Blum Inc., was all about Mammon.

Big money is headed this way as housing prices in the most devastated region of America soar. In New Orleans, where unofficial estimates say more than 100,000 homes could be demolished as a result of Hurricane Katrina, dwindling supply is fueling huge demand and housing price hikes of 10 percent to 40 percent, on average.

The hyperactive housing climate is marked by individuals and companies buying houses or groups of houses, sight unseen. Sterbcow said one company involved in rebuilding the city bought 150 homes without inspecting any of them.

Some sellers who had their homes on the market before Katrina have either raised their asking price – in some cases despite the condition of the home – or pulled them off the block temporarily in anticipation of prices going even higher.

The price spike affects primarily low- to moderate-income housing, Sterbcow said, and that could play a major role in the demographic redefinition of New Orleans. “This could change the demographics of the city. I think we’ll lose a lot of low-income people,” Sterbcow said.

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