Anyway, in order to get a more definitive answer we called a local appraiser.
Vince Healy of Clearpoint Appraisals says that what happened to the Thornton Creek folks probably wouldn't have mattered much three years ago, when we were sitting at the peak of the real estate bubble.
"During the height of the market people really didn't care too much," he says. "If there were adverse impacts like traffic or being next to Outlet Grocery -- ya know, back in there where you've got the dumpsters and they come and make deliveries and haul trash in at all hours? When the market was really strong people did not pay attention to that sort of thing."
"Nowadays when there's a whole bunch of inventory out there, to take something that's scratched and dented you really have to offer an enormous premium," says Healy. "You really have to compete. And the way you do it is with pricing. Properties that had adverse conditions are now suffering in a major way. If it's a flood zone people may be thinking two or three times about that now. You might lose a lot of value."
Asked to give a specific number, though, and Healy, well, heels. It's not easy to quantify. It depends on where and when. Et cetera, et cetera. But Healy can certainly vouch for the fact that the city is not doing Thornton Creek residents, or anyone looking to sell in the near future, any favors. He's also going to have to make changes in his own business. When Healy found out how many homes had been designated as potentially floodable he revealed himself to be just like the owners: Caught off-guard.
"Oh goodness," he said. "I'm going to have to be a lot more careful."