Skyrocketing housing costs in New Orleans hamper rebuilding

A recent analysis by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center found that in 2007 housing costs (for both renters and homeowners) in New Orleans was less affordable than the nation, with post-Katrina incomes not keeping pace with housing costs, including insurance, taxes and utilities.

Facing South has reported that one of the major barriers to rebuilding and one of the biggest problems facing residents in the Gulf Coast is finding affordable housing. Soaring rents in New Orleans have further complicated a difficult housing situation in that city. Rental rates in the city have skyrocketed (HUD estimates that average rents in the city have risen by more than 52 percent since Katrina), and for many low-income residents the available apartments are simply not affordable. Housing costs have made it difficult for displaced low-income New Orleans residents to return to the city. For homeowners insurance rates have also sharply increased, making homeownership unaffordable. Moreover, the homeless population has doubled since the hurricane.

Some highlights from GNODC's analysis:
  • For a large share of homeowners in New Orleans in 2007, housing was unaffordable. Some 36 percent of home in Orleans Parish payed more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.
  • After Katrina, New Orleans area renters experienced housing cost burdens at a significantly higher rate than before the storm, with rent increases far outpacing the increases in income levels. Some 60 percent of renters in Orleans Parish payed more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.