Monday, January 02, 2006

There Goes The Neighborhood

Real estate prices in the metro New Orleans have jumped significantly since Hurricane Katrina. This, according While most of the surge is occuring the the parishes surrounding New Orleans, the city itself may soon see a similar uptick in housing sales.

I think there are several reasons for this:

1. Moving up. People whose homes flooded badly are looking for locations on higher ground.

2. Moving on. Where houses flooded badly, the owners are looking to unload their damaged homes for a song to either move to higher ground - see above - or relocate altogher. This is creating opportunities for former residents to move back to the city.

3. Winds of change. People are seeing changes brewing in the political climate which may bring an end to the corruption and imcompetance of city leaders which forced them to leave the city in the first place.

4. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Despite, or because of, the reduction of the population of the city, job opportunities abound. Because the areas of the city that flooded the worst is mostly residential, many business (at least physically) remain intact. The reason so many businesses are struggling is due to a lack of employees - and customers. This is causing a sharp rise in wages, especially in the lower paying services industries.

5. Levees. Now that the federal government has commited to rebuild the levee system and an investigation is underway to determine why the levees failed in the first place, people are confidant that the new levee system will be better than before. One thing that we are finding out is that with proper levee protection, New Orleans is quite safe from hurricane damage. Unlike our friends to the east, we have a barrier between us and the sea.

Although the crystal ball at this point is pretty hazy, I see a bright future for the city of New Orleans but not for many years to come.

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