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Explainer: Open House: Survivor homes

  • Image: 1219 Oahu Dr. Galveston, Texas

    From the BP oil spill to tornados whipping through Middle America, it seems that disasters loom everywhere. What happens to real estate markets when they strike so close to home? Here’s a look at four homes for sale in towns recently clobbered by bad news.

  • 416 Garden Rd. Marrero, La.

    Image: 416 Garden Rd. Marrero, La.

    Price: $129,000

    Features: The two-bedroom, one-bath home has hardwood floors, granite countertops, a screened rear porch and a one-car garage.

    The situation: Marrero is a suburb of New Orleans that has twice been slammed by disaster: first Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then the BP oil spill this year.  Now local seafood restaurants, fishermen and BP service companies — and homeowners – are struggling to stay afloat. Katrina damaged this Garden Road home, forcing costly remodeling, and now the homeowner, a shrimper and fisherman, must sell.

    Selling point: It’s pretty bleak in town, but the price just dropped by $1,000.

    View the listing here (new window).

  • 317 Barbara Ave., Magee, Miss.

    Image: 317 Barbara Ave., Magee, Miss.

    Price: $117,000

    Features: The 1.5-story home has three bedrooms, 18-foot ceilings, a stone fireplace and a porch.

    The situation: This home was one of 81 houses hit by a devastating tornado in the small town of Magee (population 5,000) in 2009. Real estate prices are down 15 percent in Magee, but realtors chalk that up to the bad economy. This home was actually on the market in 2009 when it was pummeled by the tornado, so the owners wound up putting on a new roof, add new paint and updating the interior to repair the subsequent damage.

    Selling point: The house came out of the storm better looking than before.

    View the listing here (new window).

  • 4931 39th Ave. Fargo, ND

    Image: 4931 39th Ave. Fargo, ND

    Price: $209,900

    Features: The four-bedroom, three-bath home has a large master bedroom, ceramic tile floors, six-panel oak doors, three-car garage and a large front porch.

    The situation: Last year, Fargo (and next-door neighboring city of Morehead, Minn.) suffered a record flood only to be hit again by some more minor flooding earlier this year. The 2009 flooding initially brought any real estate activity in Fargo to a standstill, but 2010 real estate deal-making has since picked up this year.

    Selling point: Great neighbors. This home narrowly escaped disaster thanks to locals’ tireless sandbagging and dike building.

    View the listing here (new window).

  • 1219 Oahu Dr., Galveston, Texas

    Image: 1219 Oahu Dr. Galveston, Texas

    Price: $819,000

    Features: The three-story, five-bedroom Mediterranean style estate has waterfront views and a private boat slip, tall ceilings and cherry wood floors, hand-forged iron and travertine marble throughout the home.

    The situation: Hurricane Ike ravaged Galveston in September 2008, devastating 60,542 homes and causing $1.4 billion in damage to city infrastructure. Since Ike, the vacation island’s population dropped to 45,000 from 58,000, and its remaining homeowners still struggle to get insurance reimbursements to rebuild and make repairs. This home was flooded and has since been remodeled.

    Selling point: A big discount. The home was listed at $1.8 million in 2008 before Ike.

    View the listing here (new window).


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