When most people think Vegas, they think gambling.
But not this type of gambling. How about gambling on a few broken dreams, and someone else’s fair share of hard luck?
Cause that’s what’s happening down in Nevada, which was the leading state for housing foreclosures in US for five straight years, before it was replaced by Arizona. Each week, realtors from across the state gather to buy up houses (which they can only pay cash for) of the unfortunate victims of America’s housing bust.
And you don’t have to go far to find a victim. In Las Vegas, about two thirds of house owners owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. And so, foreclosures are rife, with 300 houses up for grabs per day.
Enter the gamblers. Armed with just a few tens of thousands of dollars, these ‘flippers’ aim to purchase a house, fix it and flip it to investors – all with a hefty profit.
And they are succeeding. After clearing liens, securing the deed, paying back taxes, and ‘rehabbing’ the house, these new age housing gamblers are often able to flip for double their money. Doing one or two houses a week, they can manage to make in the vicinity of $1m a year.
Makes any uptick in repossessions in Australia look like a blip on a Vegas slot machine screen.