A local business publication’s reporting about the real estate market impact of the latest storm to ravage Louisiana can be food for thought about investing in storm-prone areas in general.
"National Real Estate Investors Eye South Louisiana with Caution After Major Storms" says the headline in the Sept 13 article in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.
Hurricane Ida became one of the worst in U.S. history when it slammed ashore in Louisiana and Mississippi on Aug. 29, slapping around New Orleans once again and killing at least 22 people in those two states before its remnants marched northeast, causing flooding from Maryland to New Jersey, including New York City, that killed at least 46 more.
Even several weeks later, Louisiana leaders saw the need to launch the Hurricane Ida Sheltering Program, which calls for using everything from hotels to RVs to barges to help folks "currently living in unsafe or unsanitary housing."
Avoiding this storm and the ones to come
Housing is just one part of the real estate infrastructure damaged and destroyed in such maelstroms. Commercial real estate, including stores and offices, sustained losses. One of the more memorable images of Ida was a small-town hospital losing its roof.
So, with all that in mind, does this storm, just the worst of four to besiege southern Louisiana in a year, mean investor money will beat a hasty retreat?
It matters where the money’s coming from. The Baton Rouge business pub cites local CRE brokers who say they have seen a chilling effect from potential out-of-state investors and, in at least one case, a deal withdrawn as Ida bore down on the state.
The locals know their markets -- and the opportunities therein
Once bitten, twice shy? Not so much for the locals. Repeated storms may discourage outside money coming in, but that means less competition for the people who’ve been there, seen that, and intend to stay.
"There are people who are always going to develop real estate, so this makes it a little easier for the local investors," commercial real estate broker and developer Donnie Jarreau told the Baton Rouge publication.
That makes sense. Home is home, and people with ties to their community -- ties that just continue to deepen as long as they live there -- are going to feel a commitment and understand specific opportunities in ways that outside money typically can’t.
The Millionacres bottom line
A somewhat different dynamic can be seen in play when it comes to areas that have broader appeal. For instance, beachfront condos. Check out this piece for more on the data showing no apparent retreat from the beach across the country. Another example: For the past 10 years, Horry County (anchored by Myrtle Beach) has been the fastest-growing county in South Carolina, despite sea level rise and hurricane susceptibility.
But the common thread here is that whether you’re considering investing in touristy retirement areas or small, inland towns without that allure, and if you’re eyeing a storm-prone area or not, it's essential to work with real estate agents and brokers who know their locations intimately and can be trusted to give you the straight skinny.