Joined: Feb 7, 2010
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August 3rd, 2016 at 9:37:36 PM permalink

LAS VEGAS — Michael Hutchings bet it all when he built his 3,300-square-foot dream home on a strip of rock-strewn desert gazing west toward the Las Vegas Strip. He had made a fortune building custom homes as Vegas boomed higher and higher, and for his own, he chose red Spanish tiles, wrought iron and silky white plaster. A guesthouse? Sure. Swimming pool? Of course.

That was 2006. You know what happened next. Today, more than eight years after the housing crash, Mr. Hutchings, 49, owes about $800,000 on a property that has not recovered its value from the bubble days. As neighbors lost their homes to foreclosure, he started to hear gunshots and see stray dogs roaming the streets here around Sunrise Mountain. A drug dealer moved in down the block. Over the protests of his wife, Terrisa, Mr. Hutchings now stashes an unloaded shotgun in the bedroom closet and a handgun in the kitchen cabinets, tucked beside the glassware.

He could walk away from his mortgage and lose the $580,000 he has paid, or he can keep pouring his savings into the same hole. It is a mess with no good choices, he said, just like the presidential election. He will vote Republican, but Clinton or Trump — either way, it feels like a losing wager, he said.

“The whole system’s kind of broke,” he said. “We’re trying to reinvent ourselves, trying to run businesses, trying to pretend like it’s 2003 again. And it’s not.”

Joined: Aug 31, 2010
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August 3rd, 2016 at 10:16:52 PM permalink
Okay, but $1.38M for a 3300-sqft home near Sunrise Mountain is ridiculous. I lived in Vegas between about 2003-2005, I bought in Henderson for $100/sqft and sold for about $155/sqft. I'm not complaining, what other kind of investment makes 55% in two years? But Hutchings' house in east Las Vegas was almost $420/sqft. You normally don't find that kind of pricing except in the ultra-rich gated communities and with houses at least twice the size. Sounds to me like he overbuilt for the neighborhood.

For what it's worth, my old Henderson house hasn't recovered from the bubble either, it's at about $125/sqft according to Zillow.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563

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