Quality of life cited as one reason for a real boom in New Orleans real estate
Don Ames Reporting
A recent article, the financial media company, Bloomberg, says New Orleans is rolling in cash as the city sees a rebirth, particularly in real estate.
According to Bloomberg, New Orleans has become one of the fastest-growing U.S. commercial real estate markets.
"And, they are citing item after item that are all in close proximity to the downtown New Orleans area or in downtown," says local real estate expert Wade Ragas.
He says much of it remains a result of the rebuilding effort since Hurricane Katrina. But, both Ragas and Bloomberg say more and more people are choosing to live in the city for its quality of life.
Bloomberg quotes the owner of a New Orleans-based residential real estate development firm, who calls New Orleans 'sexy, vibrant, and full of life'.
"Certainly, we're perceived as being a city much larger than we are. We have so many social and cultural activities here. It's much greater than you would typically expect."
"And, that's partly because we have so many tourist attractions that are also used by the local residents," says Ragas. "It does give us a unique combination of cultural and social activity for a metro of our relatively small size."
Ragas says New Orleans is attracting "persons that enjoy the ambiance in New Orleans, the nightlife, the social character of the city."
"Many of the buyers in Lakeview, for example, or the Marigny or in Bywater are folks who have come here from other places and are attracted by the ambiance and the nature of Orleans Parish."
This year through May, commercial real estate transactions in New Orleans totaled $424.7 million, up 41 percent from the $301.1 million in all of 2012, according to New York-based Real Capital Analytics Inc. New Orleans was the only U.S. market among 55 tracked by the research firm in which sales have surpassed last year's total.
Certainly, says Ragas, the inflow of $120.5 billion in federal money following Katrina has contributed to the construction boom in luxury housing, retail and office projects under way.
"Compared to others, at the moment, we're having a stronger recovery than most parts of the country are enjoying," says Ragas.
"But, I think that it's important for people to realize that this is just an opportunity. We have to keep working on how to solve our problems...and, in particular, the problems of crime, and the problems of poverty and the problems we have with maintaining and growing the quality of our public schools. But, there is progress. We are moving in the right direction."