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March 6, 2015

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J. Patrick Coolican:

In wake of real estate collapse, crazy deals abound


Leila Navidi

The entryway courtyard of a home for sale at Red Rock Country Club in Summerlin for $600,000 seen Friday, November 18, 2011.

Click to enlarge photo

J. Patrick Coolican

Real Estate Tour

A home for sale at Red Rock Country Club in Summerlin is seen Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Launch slideshow »

What if I told you I could offer you a two-bedroom, two-bath condo in Summerlin — well, basically Summerlin — for the price of an Acura MDX: Is that something that would interest you?

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. We’ve heard this before from the real estate pitchmen. In 2006, you couldn’t lose because prices would never go down. In 2007, you were lucky to be getting in during this pause in appreciation. In 2008 and 2009 and 2010, you got a steal compared with 2006!

But now, with real estate prices less than half of what they were at the peak, there might be something to it.

I say that not as investment advice — God forbid you take investment advice from me — but because when you take a tour of properties around the valley, you get an intuitive sense that prices are downright rational.

Given the pain and anxiety endured by our neighbors, it’s not easy to say, but it’s true: The real estate collapse hasn’t been bad for everyone. For many, it has made ownership affordable. In that light, I decided to take a tour of the craziest deals. I call it real estate porn.

Our guide is Joe DiRaffaele of Coldwell Banker, and he’s one of the best in the business. He sold 176 homes in 2010 and was recognized by The Wall Street Journal last year for being one of the top sellers in the country.

We begin in the northwest at the end of a cul-de-sac, 3123 Surf Spray Street, at a house of nearly 2,700 square feet, with a three-car garage, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It sold in March 2006 for $509,000. Now it’s bank owned and goes for $254,900. It’s airy and boasts a big kitchen with skylights and a center island. The windows of the master bedroom offer a nice view of the obligatory giant wall that surrounds the property. Yeah, I said it was a good deal, not my dream home.

DiRaffaele isn’t a pollyanna — on our way to the next spot, he says he hated watching developers cram cheap houses onto tiny plots during the bubble. Nothing can be done about it now, except to sell the stuff at half price.

Next, that condo I mentioned earlier, the Residence at Canyon Gate, selling for $39,900. The previous owners trashed the two-bedroom, two-bathroom place, so it will need some work. DiRaffaele, who spends a lot of time working with contractors now on behalf of banks, says for $12,000 he could have the place shining. A dollar goes far with desperate contractors these days, he says. Walk-in closets and a sunken Jacuzzi-style tub make this ideal for young buyers.

At Red Rock Country Club, a palatial house at 11310 Winter Cottage Place that once went for $1.2 million is selling for $599,900. It has a Mediterranean-style courtyard entrance with “Romeo and Juliet” balconies, four bedrooms and five bathrooms. Inside, there’s a curving staircase with a birdcage railing. Of course, it offers great views of the golf course. The Sopranos could live here, and maybe a version of them did.

We slide down the socio-economic ladder at 8261 Abercrombe Way, just around the corner from Tivoli Square, where a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house goes for $79,900 and would make a great first home for a young family. Even with no money down, the mortgage payment would be less than $400 per month, the taxes just $1,000 per year.

Finally, we’re downtown at what was once the Streamline Tower and is now the Ogden, a high rise just a block from the old City Hall, which will soon be home to Zappos. It’s a one bedroom with a walk-in closet on the 18th floor, with views of the Sheep Range. Below are two vacant lots. Hopefully, the coming of Zappos will change that. You can walk to all the cool bars and restaurants downtown, including a much-talked-about Thai place. Standing on the roof deck where the pool is, you can look south right down Las Vegas Boulevard at the glittery dreams of the Strip.

Yours for $109,900.

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  1. You knuckle heads are missing the whole point of the article. He is not talking about the future of the housing market, he is only talking for the fact that the housing market is affordable again. He is not saying when the market will turn around, he even pointed out this fact in the article. All he is saying is that there are deals out there to be had. So slow down the lynch mob for a few minutes. Thank you.

  2. It's a great time to invest, especially if one has cash. But even those without cash can take advantage of these deals if they are patient. The only challenge to prices rising sooner rather than later is that many folks are gaming the system by walking away from one home to buy twice as much house across the street for less. That process must be interrupted or speed-bumped or it will run its course for who knows how long.

    ["GoBruins" - don't bother addressing the untrusted posters, as their comments automatically disappear from these pages after 48 hours.]

  3. "I call it real estate porn."

    Coolican -- good one!

    "...even those without cash can take advantage of these deals if they are patient."

    James_P -- though no expert on this at all, I seriously doubt the bottom has been reached yet. So your counsel of patience is quite valid.

    "It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world ... It is the same spirit that says, 'You toil and earn the bread, and I'll eat it.'" -- Abraham Lincoln, from Reply, Seventh and Last Joint Debate with Judge Douglas, 1858

  4. What is the association fee @ canyon gate? How about the redrock country club?

  5. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are making huge Las Vegas real estate bets. Ross Perot Junior bought several thousand acres north of Las Vegas. John Paulson has a huge stake in Vegas. A loss Angeles real estate group just bought several hundred units in Panorama Towers.

    There have been numerous real estate corrections in the last hundred years. All have resulted in much higher prices. The homes that you could have purchased in areas like Beverly Hills, Belair, Rancho Palos Verdes and Silicon Valley for $50,000 in the 1960s are worth many millions today.

    There are less than 20,000 homes available for purchase and several million people that live in Vegas. If the conditions are right this thing the turnaround very quickly. Housing prices on the East and West Coast are skyhigh. Hedge funds are purchasing all of the farmland that comes available in the Midwest because of high food prices and increased demand for food around the world. Prices per acre for farmland are seeing levels that have never been seen before.

    There aren't very many affordable, desirable places left to live. Las Vegas always comes out near the top of the list in terms of where people would like to live. It is now unbelievably affordable.

  6. All I know is that I have recently purchased a few rental properties this year and I'm quite happy with them.

    Also, my 23 year old son is buying his first house (brand new KB home) in the northwest neighborhood of Providence for about $130,000. That would have been impossible a few years ago. I have no idea how they build a new home for $130k.

  7. I bought my 23 year old son a home in Providence a year ago. He loves it . They are probably neighbors.

  8. I agree with ATVDAD1, with Mortgage payments on 30 year fixed cheaper than rent, and that includes HOA and SID payments. and if one has 10 or 15 years to ride it out nows the time to invest in some rentals, 25% down and a good credit score is all you need to become a landlord, Then once you are a landlord there are two very impotant things that are a must. a good tenant who pays on time and a good mexican who will cheaply get it ready to rent out. and since i am mexican i can say that. also, its not theroy i have closed on 3 homes in the last 60 days

  9. I'm glad to see that there are some people that actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. All of the doom & gloomers have been jaded by the last few years. It may be difficult to do, but don't let the past affect your future! If there is an opportunity to profit from the carnage then be nimble and go for it.