Housing market rebounding, but asbestos still a concern

News of residential home price renaissance is good news for the nation's economy. Many people in Ohio still remember how the housing crisis crippled financial markets and led to a damaging recession. Nevertheless, Bloomberg News reports that home prices improved in 88 percent of U.S. cities, including the Cleveland metropolitan area. The rise in prices indicates that qualified people are confident about buying again and the market has finally stabilized.

With more homes being purchased, buyers should be wary of potential contaminants, especially with homes built before 1977. These residences may carry the risk of having insulation materials that contain asbestos. Prospective buyers should be aware that asbestos-laden materials pose long-term health risks, and that removal is essential.

As we have described in previous posts, fine asbestos fibers can be breathed in and become imbedded in the lining of the lungs. It can lead to mesothelioma, a cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. Many people who have contracted mesothelioma have been exposed to it through work (i.e. in construction workers, mechanics, demolition workers). However, people who live in homes with asbestos-based insulation are also at risk.

If you suspect that your prospective home has asbestos, a good home inspector can conduct an analysis and help identify problem areas. Specifically, the inspector can identify whether poorly managed insulation or plaster issues create a health threat. The inspector can also give you some insights on how it must be removed and identify crews that can do the job properly. Proper removal is just as important as identifying the threat. Prospective home buyers should also the costs of removal when considering a home price.

Source: OhioBar.org, Home buyers should determine asbestos and lead paint risks, April 27, 2012; Bloomberg.com, Home prices rise in 88% of cities as recovery gains, February 11, 2013

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