Despite a building boom, there are still 75,000 fewer residential housing units in the New Orleans metro area than before Hurricane Katrina, and housing costs are up by one-third, according to a survey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
While 24,700 new housing units were built between 2004-09, the New Orleans metro area still has 13 percent housing fewer housing units than the 587,000 in place before Katrina struck, HUD said.
So many older homes have been demolished that the median year of construction for homes in the area is currently 1972, compared to 1960 before Katrina.
The survey also estimated that there were 72,500 vacant homes in an area including Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes.
The survey found monthly housing costs have risen an inflation-adjusted 33.2 percent since the hurricane hit, to $882 in 2009, with much of the trend attributed to the reduced availability of mid-priced rental units. There were 66,300 apartments and other rentals available for $300 to $600 a month before Katrina. Now there are 19,300, HUD said.
The survey also quantified the scale of the disaster, finding 298,000 households were forced from their homes for at least two weeks. Most families moved two or three times, and some moved as many as 10 times. In 2009, more than 38,000 families still considered themselves in transition.
The survey found the total number of renter households dropped by 32,000 from 2004 to 2009. But the number of "worst case housing needs" — very low-income residents paying more than half their income in rent or living in severely inadequate housing — grew by nearly 6,500, or 22 percent.