Hurricane Irene Worsens Prospects for East Coast Real Estate

Hurricane IreneAs homeowners along the Eastern seaboard assess the damage done by Hurricane Irene, they may have to brace themselves for more bad news. The hurricane is likely to roil an already uncertain real estate market in communities from North Carolina to Vermont, where residents have already seen their homes severely damaged or even destroyed.

Experts say the storm could delay pending homes sales and, in the longer-term, potentially depress home values. For homeowners teetering on the brink of foreclosure, the devastation caused by Irene could be a deciding factor in losing their homes. Insurers say total damages from the storm could be between $7 and $10 billion, according to published reports.

“There’s so much downward momentum in the real estate market that this is just one more straw on the camel’s back,” said William Harrison, a faculty lecturer at the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. “The Northeast just had the hell scared out of it and fear has a way of translating into lower home prices.”

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