New Orleans Housing Market Better than National Media Makes Out

Real Estate Agent with Exit Realty

If you watch any news, I'm sure you've seen it. There was the February article in the New York Times about how New Orleans Residents are leaving town in droves; there was a Post commentary about how the city's dead, and there have been numerous other commentaries as well as so called "news" stories all revelling in what they describe as the death of a great American city, and that city's real estate market.

Not to be too trite, but the tales of our death have been much exaggerated.

The Times article claimed that the flow of people out of the city is more than the flow of people back in, and it cited frustrations about the slow pace of recovery. While everyone down here is eager to get things moving as quickly as possible, and while many people are frustrated with leadership and other problems, I think much of the national news coverage of New Orleans has gone for shock over substance.

I recently attended the University of New Orleans Economic Outlook Forecast Seminar, where lots of underreported numbers were discussed. One of the most interesting things to me as a real estate agent were the statistics on homes sold.

Arthur Sterbcow of Latter & Blum presented data from the Gulf South Information network that showed how many homes are on the market each month versus how many homes sold, which he refers to as "real buyers."

The data he presented went back to 1989, and while it's true that the number of homes on the market are at their highest level ever, in most neighborhoods the number of buyers is at or near its highest level as well.

Wow. No wonder I've been so busy!

You can't talk about the number of people deciding to sell their homes and live somewhere else without talking about the people who have bought those homes, oftentimes young, professional couples who have moved here from another city because they savored the challenge and appreciated the culture.

In an op ed piece in the Times Picayune a pediatrician, Stephen Hales, talked about how the number of new patients he's getting is outweighing the patients he's lost. And in one of the biggest votes of confidence for the city, he's seeing more and more babies born in our hospitals.

So why does the media love to talk about doom and gloom?

The story of New Orleans tragedy is hot stuff right now. The country got addicted to hearing stories about how bad things were in New Orleans, and now the news media wants to keep pumping out those stories. They don't want to talk about progress that's being made; they want to talk about "New Orleans newest setback." What fun is it to painstakingly document all the things that are going right? It's a lot easier to just say, "Tragedy continues in our favorite tragic town!"

So don't trust everything you read. If you're one of my hundreds of visitors who read this blog from other states, take the time to come see us for yourselves and make your own decision. If you're a local, don't let out of town reporters dictate our expectations of our city and our home.

It's true that there are more homes on the market than before, both because some folks are moving away and because other folks are moving in with family members and consolidating. But buyer confidence is as strong as it's ever been and new energy is moving into the city every day.

This blog was originally posted at

Comments (2)

Todd and Danielle Millar
Glenn Simon Inc. - Edmonton, AB
Nineteen years of excellence!


I agree with you 100%. The newspapers overlook any positive news to print negativity, doom, gloom and fear mongering. The sad thing is that, they do this because it sells. That is what their readership wants and will pay for 

Aug 07, 2007 05:48 PM
Jean-Paul Villere
Villere Realty, LLC - New Orleans, LA

Thanks for the refreshing POV, Helen.  New Orleans is alive, well, and thriving for sure ~

Aug 23, 2008 12:35 AM