The Blessing Under The Ashes

| October 25, 2007

Photo credit SD Union Tribune

The fires in San Diego County are still burning, but the worst has probably passed. At last count over 1,000 homes had burned in the fire, and word from the Union Tribune is that the first permit to rebuild was filed this morning.

Prior to the fires, one of the big stories in the area was the tremendous pressure our housing market was under. We had clearly over-built, and there was a glut of homes on the market. At the same time a large portion of the local economy over the past 5 years was directly or indirectly related to the housing boom. Many of those folks had already lost their jobs or were likely to lose their jobs in the next 6 months. Many home owners had purchased new homes before selling their old, only to find no buyer, leaving them with 2 mortgage payments. Make no mistake this was a building problem that was a huge threat to the economy before the fires.

Now we have had a huge burn through many areas rural and suburban. It is estimated that over a billion dollars of losses, this is by any measurement a huge blow to the residents of the County. But within the disaster is a blessing.

Most if not all of those homes will now be re-built over the next 2 years. This means good jobs for all of the construction workers that were facing uncertain futures. All of the businesses that sold goods to furnish homes, from kitchen wares to appliances to furniture to home electronics, are now going to be busy replacing all that was lost. Rather than a slow crushing decline over the next 2 years, these businesses now have a life line.

Those families need a place to live while their new home is built over the ashes of their old. This means that home owners who cannot sell their old home may now be able to find a renter to help them carry the mortgage on their original house.

Make no mistake, this has been a huge disaster, but there may in fact end up being a blessing for San Diego under the ashes.

Posted 0915 PDT

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Category: Economics, Emergency Preparedness, Main, SAN DIEGO EMERGENCIES, San Diego Fires

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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