After Harvey: lost property titles, higher construction costs, affordable housing shortages loom

Joseph CahoonJoseph Cahoon
Director of SMU's Folsom Institute for Real Estate

On potential impediments to rebuilding Houston

“In low-income areas that suffered major damage, there could be an issue with re-building if homeowners cannot prove they hold title to their properties. If someone inherits property without a probated will, there is no establishment of title. After Katrina, there were federal programs to help homeowners rebuild in the Lower Ninth Ward, but without clear establishment of title, homeowners could not access those funds, nor could they obtain a loan from a bank to rebuild.”

On how the rest of Texas will be impacted by Houston’s rebuilding efforts

“We are going to see a run-up in construction pricing all across Texas. As both labor and materials are over-allocated to Houston in the recovery process, this will cause construction prices to rise elsewhere in the state.”

On what challenges Houston residents will face while their homes are rebuilt

“As with Katrina, affordable housing will be difficult to come by for lower-income wage earners. Older properties with deferred capital maintenance will be among the last to be rebuilt/re-habilitated, which will, in turn, displace many individuals in a critical labor force.”

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