How Hurricane Katrina Evacuees Helped Bolster Houston
Digested from “Hurricane Katrina leaves lasting legacy on Houston apartment industry”
Houston Business Journal (9/1/15) Takahashi, Paul
Houston’s occupancy rates shot from 85.4 percent to 90.6 percent in one month in 2005 as 150,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees sought shelter in the city. This boost in population — roughly 80,000 of whom decided to remain in Houston permanently — has been credited with economically stabilizing the city’s multifamily industry throughout the Great Recession.
As occupancy rates rose, so did rents; rent growth, which had been predicted to be 2.5 percent for the year, jumped 6.1 percent. The immediate influx created havoc in the industry, with the Astrodome, public shelters, hotels and apartment communities all serving as temporary housing locations. Apartment communities also had limited time to perform appropriate background and credit checks, which contributed to increased criminal activity.
The city is now slowing down as a result of dropping oil prices, and new developments are fewer and farther between.