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Sean Cummings, a real estate developer and hotel operator in New Orleans, says the future of his storm-ravaged city is up in the air, not uncertain, mind you, literally, up in the air. Cummings says the flooding will only encourage a trend begun before Katrina of New Orleans residents moving to high-rise residential towers. Cummings has a 60-story, $15 million apartment complex in the Bywater neighborhood near downtown already financed. He hopes to break ground next year. “No one’s having second thoughts,” he says. “You have a whole lot of displaced people who need a place to live and who will rethink the type of housing that they have. I wouldn’t be surprise to see whites, blacks, Hispanics, Vietnamese, every bit of New Orleans considering alternatives other than single family homes in low-lying areas.” Cummings says the hurricane may also jump start efforts to create a new convention center, performing arts center, football stadium and city hall in the Crescent City. “New Orleans is an American icon,” he says. “I don’t think there is a city in the nation where Americans have a greater love affair. That’s true with an exclamation point for people who call it home.”
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.