The number of homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina is almost certain to dwarf the losses from any previous U.S. disaster, a leading home builders' association said in a report today. Economists for the National Association of Home Builders said a "large share" of the more than 200,000 homes in New Orleans is likely to be destroyed. The study defines "destroyed" as "made uninhabitable and beyond economically justified repair. In comparison, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 destroyed an estimated 28,000 housing units; an estimated 27,500 housing units were destroyed by Hurricanes Jeanne, Ivan, Frances and Charley in 2004; and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire reportedly destroyed about 28,000 buildings. The economists said that the extent of the damage is still unclear, but past experience, together with the visible devastation, provides some basis for projecting the effects on construction activity, the supply and cost of building materials and construction labor, and other implic...
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