War of Ideas

Questions you never thought to ask: What would an anthrax attack do to property values in Seattle?

Comedies about narcissistic yuppies facing the apocalypse seem to be the hottest genre in Hollywood right now, with This is the End, It’s a Disaster, The World’s End, and Rapture-Palooza hitting theaters this year alone. So it seems as good a time as any to take a look at what a real world catastrophe would ...

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Comedies about narcissistic yuppies facing the apocalypse seem to be the hottest genre in Hollywood right now, with This is the End, It’s a Disaster, The World’s End, and Rapture-Palooza hitting theaters this year alone. So it seems as good a time as any to take a look at what a real world catastrophe would mean for the value of your home. 

In an article for Risk Analysis, Noah Dormady, Thomas Szelasek, and Adam Rose assess the impact of an anthrax attack on the Seattle-area real estate market:

We estimate spatially disaggregated impacts on median sales price of residential housing within the Seattle metro area following an attack on the central business district (CBD). Using a combination of longitudinal panel regression and GIS analysis, we find that the median sales price in the CBD could decline by as much as $280,000, and by nearly $100,000 in nearby communities. These results indicate that total residential property values could decrease by over $50 billion for Seattle, or a 33% overall decline. We combine these estimates with HUD’s 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS) to further predict 70,000 foreclosures in Seattle spatial zones following the terrorism event.

See also: What would a nuclear war in South Asia mean for U.S. soybean production?

 

Comedies about narcissistic yuppies facing the apocalypse seem to be the hottest genre in Hollywood right now, with This is the End, It’s a Disaster, The World’s End, and Rapture-Palooza hitting theaters this year alone. So it seems as good a time as any to take a look at what a real world catastrophe would mean for the value of your home. 

In an article for Risk Analysis, Noah Dormady, Thomas Szelasek, and Adam Rose assess the impact of an anthrax attack on the Seattle-area real estate market:

We estimate spatially disaggregated impacts on median sales price of residential housing within the Seattle metro area following an attack on the central business district (CBD). Using a combination of longitudinal panel regression and GIS analysis, we find that the median sales price in the CBD could decline by as much as $280,000, and by nearly $100,000 in nearby communities. These results indicate that total residential property values could decrease by over $50 billion for Seattle, or a 33% overall decline. We combine these estimates with HUD’s 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS) to further predict 70,000 foreclosures in Seattle spatial zones following the terrorism event.

See also: What would a nuclear war in South Asia mean for U.S. soybean production?

 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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