Friday, May 25, 2007

The Katrina Index

Published monthly by the Greater New Orleans Data Center , this report is a wealth of information regarding repopulation of New Orleans, home sales in surrounding parishes, the Road Home Program, the status of public schools and medical facility openings to name a few. This site also contains
Reference Maps of New Orleans:
Planning districts
Neighborhood boundaries
Zip codes
Extent of Katrina flooding
Elevation by neighborhood

Here's a summary of the May 2007 "Katrina Index"

Months Since Katrina Made Landfall: 20
This month’s Jazz Fest was a welcome reminder of what New Orleanians love about their home city. And with estimated attendance hitting its highest mark since 2003, the reason for optimism shared by residents and visitors is clear.
Similar positive strides can be seen in the recovery of New Orleans and her larger metro area.
First, the state recently hired Paul Vallas, a nationally-recognized public school-turnaround chief, to run the Recovery School District starting in July. Like with city recovery chief Ed Blakely, Vallas will bring quality experience and leadership to a central component of the recovery effort. Second, the pace of application closings for the Road Home program is finally picking up speed, with over 8,000 new closings this month. But the future of the Road Home remains tenuous. At its current rate, another year will elapse before ICF has processed all of the Road Home applications. Further, state officials announced that the $7.5 billion program will likely face a shortfall of up to $4 billion due to higher-than-anticipated applicants, skyrocketing construction costs, and less insurance than assumed.

And finally, as this month’s index points out, new U.S. postal delivery data suggest the continued gradual repopulation of the city and region.
Overall, this month’s index shows improvement in the economic recovery of the New Orleans area. While many of the city’s basic services and infrastructure remain unchanged, the housing market is stronger, with increased home sales and home
values, housing rehab activity and demolitions have accelerated, and jobs are still being added to the region.
.. The average sales price for single family homes in the New Orleans region continues to climb above pre-Katrina values in the outer parishes while generally remaining stable in the core. Specifically, home values in Jefferson Parish,
Plaquemines Parish, and St. Tammany Parish are now at or above the values in August 2005. The exceptions are on the east bank of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish where average home values remain lower than those prior to Katrina.
.. The total number of single family homes sold in the metro area has climbed steadily since last December 2006 reaching 941. This growth reflects the resurgence of the spring and summer homebuying season and signals continued
consumer confidence in the New Orleans area.
.. Demolitions increased this month to 285, a big jump from 150 demolitions per month for the last two months. This may indicate that property owners are taking advantage of free demolitions before FEMA’s August 2007 deadline.
.. Residential building permits issued by the City of New Orleans increased by 1,426 this month, the highest one-month volume since last October 2006.
.. Fully 8,286 Road Home applications were closed in the last four weeks indicating that ICF International has almost reached its targeted goal of closing 500 applications per day. But given rising numbers of applications, these closings
represent only 11.4 percent of the demand.

Updated monthly at The KATRINA INDEX

Thanks to Harry Shearer for the link

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