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Gulf Oil Spill Pounds Coastal Real Estate

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

As we continue our coverage on the affects of the Gulf Oil Spill has on local real estate, we are sorry to report that we’ve seen no real improvement in the last week.  If anything, problems are increasing as tropical storms approach, booms and equipment are reaching the end of their life expectancy.  The only thing constant seems to be the continual flow of often ridiculous red tape, that prevents citizens from protecting themselves and their property. 

Tales from the front include:

Kevin Chiu, a researcher for Housing Predictor, warns:  “Housing analysts contend that the projected losses in housing value will top that of any oil disaster in the nation’s history and will send tens of thousands of additional homes into foreclosure as a result.”

Alabama real estate agent Linda Henderson reports…canceled sales and that the smell at times is so pungent that it drives people back inside their homes.  “I can tell you that things have pretty much dropped to dead,” said Ms Henderson.  “We were on track for our best year since Katrina.  This is just devastating-you can say that the spill killed the real estate recovery.”

Jack McCabe of McCabe Researcn and Consulting in Deerfield Beach, FL sums it up this way…”What the housing recession and the Great Recession couldn’t do to property values along the Gulf, this could easily accomplish.  It’s a knock out punch, plain and simple.”

There is an awful lot of real estate within 20 miles from the coastal beaches of Gulf states.   All forms of real estate, farms, office buildings, schools, government buildings, military installations, utility systems and homes are in peril. How much oil could come onshore and what the aftermath will be is entirely speculative at this point. If the oil spilling into the waters of the Gulf can’t be stopped and cleaned up before a major storm event, the devastation of the entire Gulf Coast region within at least a 20 mile distance will likely render it uninhabitable by humans. Who would want to live there, let alone buy or invest in property?

This raises the final question about BP’s oil spill:   Who will pay for the unintended loss of real estate value and the toll of human misery sure to come?  If one faces the facts as we are learning them about BP, it becomes almost a certainty that there isn’t enough money in their vast holdings to pay for the damages and losses from such an event.   The toll on human life and the economy might only be imagined as apocalyptic in scale.  The effect on the national economy, if not the global economy, is likely to follow.   The economic impact on the world, let alone the nation, is going to be staggering when, not if this event occurs.

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