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Before Hurricane Ike swept through the Gulf Coast on Saturday, the Houston area’s real estate market was one of the strongest in the country. Home prices were up about 1 percent in the second quarter at a time when most major cities are seeing declines.
But the storm, which might have left about 50,000 homes uninhabitable in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria metro area, could actually give a boost to the housing market, University of Houston Professor Barton Smith told me today.
The local job market, which has remained robust thanks to the booming energy sector, has helped to fuel the need for housing. The storm has created a shortage of homes, some of which will likely never be rebuilt, Smith said. And new home starts could drop as builders turn their attention to repairing damaged homes, he added.
“This is probably going to create a strengthening of the housing market,” Smith said. “We didn’t have a significant amount of oversupply to begin with.”
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.