NOLA.com Baton Rouge has seen a flurry of real estate activity this week with thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees descending on the city. Local realtors said Thursday that many families are buying homes in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area because they realize that a return to the Big Easy is a big time away. And businesses displaced by the storm are snapping up office and warehouse space in the state?s capital city because they realize it may be years before they return home. Some consumers with solid credit scores and large down payments are getting virtually non-paper mortgages within days instead of the weeks the process usually takes. Lynda Schlif of Realty Executives Integrity First Real Estate said that her office has been "swamped, swamped swamped.? Schiff said her small firm posted sales volume of about $15 million last year and she expects that volume to rise 50 percent this year because of Hurricane Katrina. "Hollywood couldn't write a worst script,'' said Arthur Sterbcow, president of Latter & Blum Inc. Realtors in New Orleans. Latter & Blum also owns C.J. Brown Realtors, Baton Rouge's largest real estate company. The Baton Rouge market -- just a fraction of New Orleans ? will be hard pressed to accommodate the surge of evacuees. "Baton Rouge is about to become the fastest growing city in America in about an hour,'' Sterbcow said from his temporary headquarters on Perkins Avenue in Baton Rouge. "This is the largest (relocation) operation in our company's history.? Baton Rouge's population was 450,000 a week ago. ?I bet you it is 650,000 today,'' he said. Jim and Donna Vance, Algiers residents, are among the evacuees coming to the city. On Thursday they headed out to look at a house and Catholic High Schools in Baton Rouge. They even made an offer on a home, but by the time they did, the property had been sold. ?People are just going to have to act quick,? said CJ Brown agent Dave Caraccioli. Latter & Blum manages between 7,000 and 8,000 apartments in the metro Baton Rouge area, and Sterbcow, who watched on CNN Wednesday night as a bare-chested "thug'' with a crowbar broke into Latter & Blum's main headquarters in downtown New Orleans, said that all of his rental units are leased. Sterbcow has set up a relocation phone bank to handle the demand. His brokers and agents are helping New Orleans residents move to Houston, Atlanta and everywhere in-between. He is convinced that New Orleans will return to its glory days, but that it may take residents and the nation 20 years to erase the psychological and economical impact Hurricane Katrina has created. He also predicts, with other local Realtors agreeing, that Baton Rouge will become the fastest-growing city in the United States over the next year or two, surpassing the explosion of population and single-family home construction seen in Las Vegas But Sterbcow is determined to return to New Orleans. "When the power is back on, I'll be sitting in my office at 800 Common St.,'' he said, downplaying any thought that the city will not be rebuilt, as some television talking heads have suggested. One thing Baton Rouge has that New Orleans has always lacked is land, and Sterbcow expects a surge in single-family home construction and a real estate boom unimaginable to the area just five days ago. Latter Blum/C.J. Brown is not alone in being flooded with requests for space. David McKey of Coldwell Banker Phelps & McKey Realtors Inc. of Baton Rouge are buying both commercial buildings and homes. "They don't have a choice, that's really the only alternative,? McKey said. McKey?s staff fielded over 300 to 350 calls in two days from New Orleanians seeking commercial and residential space. ?We?ve just had two in a row looking to buy and they have no intention of ever returning to New Orleans,? McKey said. McKey said that he expects the Baton Rouge real estate market to bounce dramatically. "I think this is going to go on not for months but for years,'' he said.