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Real estate industry surviving deployments
A sign advertises a home for sale in Hinesville. Realtors are expecting a “financial feast” when troops return home. - photo by Photo by John Deike
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a two-part series examining businesses affected by the ongoing deployments to Iraq.  

Because of the consistent wave of deployments to Iraq, real estate revenues have fallen 25 to 30 percent in just the last year alone.   
George Holtzman, the proprietor of Holtzman Insurance, blames the extended deployments (that have spanned from 12 to 18 months) for the losses he and other Realtors have incurred during the past year.
“When the soldiers are in theater, they do not have much of a chance to spend their money, so when they return to Liberty County, they will have the capital to invest in a lot of the businesses around here,” he said. “In essence, we plan to recoup the losses we have suffered so far when they come back, but now it’s just a waiting game.”
In the meantime, Realtors, along with many other business owners, have adapted and learned how to construct a financial plan in order to hedge the losses they face during a deployment, he said.
“During Desert Storm, our county was ill-prepared, and a good deal of proprietors had to tighten their budgets to prevent from going under, Chamber of Commerce Chairman Gary Walker said. “Today, there are more civilians in the community, and the county has grown which has aided the revenues of local businesses.”
Since the beginning of the war in 2003, Realtors have studied the effects of one deployment to the next, and it offers them a guide in discerning what their business needs to either survive or prosper, Century 21 owner and LCDA chairman Allen Brown said.
“We expect a good deal of troops to return by July of 2008 at the latest, and when they do it will be a financial feast,” he said. “There will be plenty of availability in housing and real estate, and we hope the soldiers will create an increase in demand and eat the market up.”
Since the community expanded developmentally, the soldiers have plenty of choices on where to live, and the family units should sell because the soldiers have more of a reason to dig their roots in this thriving community, he said.
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