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The title of America’s fastest-growing city goes to sleepy Baton Rouge, 75 miles upriver from New Orleans (which, sadly, is America’s fastest-shrinking city).
In our real estate-obsessed culture, it took about a nanosecond from people’s thoughts to shift from Katrina’s victims to the real estate angle. The Wall Street Journal reported today on the plight of Judah Hertz, a Santa Monica developer who had the bad timing to buy two downtown New Orleans office towers in the past few months, making him the city’s largest owner of high-quality office buildings.
But getting back to Baton Rouge ... the Los Angeles Times is carrying a story today about the craziness of the sleepy city's real estate market. The first anecdote is about a professor who balked at paying $1,000 a month for a teeny 700-square-foot home with broken windows. Now, after no luck finding something better, he says he'd sign in a minute if he could still find the person who made the offer.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.