Monday, November 12, 2012

The Sandy effects in Southwest Florida, bad and better


Snow covers debris piles as flood waters return to Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on Wednesday, as a nor'easter hits the area damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The economic effects of the storm are still being measured.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.
Amid concerns that Hurricane Sandy could dampen tourism in Southwest Florida, the local real estate and home building industries also are weighing potential effects -- both positive and negative.
Tourists from the Northeast often become home buyers in the Sarasota-Manatee area. But as storm-weary residents dig out and rebuild after Sandy, experts warn that travel and relocation plans could be set back -- possibly for years.
"A lot of folks who travel down here from that region are probably not coming this year," said Kim Vogel, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Venice.
"Those people are looking for a good investment and where to retire. Those plans might be put off when money is being spent on repairing and rebuilding their homes," she said.
The silver lining, for some, is that the long-depressed U.S. construction industry is bound to get a boost from the rebuilding effort after the monster storm, which directly hit New Jersey and parts of New York and affected an area from the North Carolina coast up to Connecticut.
But the bad news is that economic damage inflicted by Sandy could hit $50 billion, forecasting firm Eqecat Inc. said. Several economists warn that the storm could shave a half percentage point off the nation's economic growth in the current quarter.
The storm also could have ripple effects in Southwest Florida that hurt builders.
That is because demand for construction materials and workers will rise as the communities begin to rebuild or repair homes, commercial buildings, roads and bridges.
And, as has happened with past hurricanes, that increased activity could lead to higher prices and limited availability of materials in Florida and elsewhere.

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