by Tanta on 9/10/2007 09:38:00 AM
Monday, September 10, 2007
Not only is it impossible to write about Las Vegas's real estate problems without engaging in casino-talk, it also appears irresistible to talk about real estate speculation as if it were only a form of slot-machine playing but with bigger tokens. The former might merely be annoying, but I wonder if the latter mightn't be causing a certain conceptual problem. For one thing, it erases the complicity of those who asserted that real estate price appreciation is a matter of "fundamentals" and the land that they don't make any more of and demographics and so on (Hi, NAR!), leaving the impression that speculators thought it was all just a matter of probabilities and chance, like throwing dice. However good an idea it was to listen to NAR, the fact is that they and a lot of their stenographers in the press were claiming that RE appreciation was not random or chance. Treating those failed speculators as mere crap-shooters now, it seems, is kind of convenient for the "House" experts.
This reflection arises from this Chicago Tribune article on Las Vegas's RE woes, which also informs us that:
Gamblers willing to bet on a property or two were rewarded with almost immediate payoffs. The guy who sold Karen Lewis her house for $435,000 in June 2006 raked in a $200,000 profit after holding it less than two years, she figures.Does anyone else want to know what "a couple of out-of-town cops started using it for an occasional vacation getaway" means? You know, I'm not sure I do.
"Houses were really cheap. Loans were really easy," said Lewis, who moved from California. "These were investors who didn't ever live here. Now, they're totally walking away." . . .
From her front door, Lewis stares across Arcata Point Avenue at the for-sale signs on two abandoned houses in foreclosure. The house next door stood empty for months as well, until a couple of out-of-town cops started using it for an occasional vacation getaway.
Between 15 percent and 25 percent of the homes in her 3-year-old gated community are for sale, she estimates, many behind on loan payments and an alarming number deserted, their lawns burnt out and trash untended.