Las Vegas Sun

May 1, 2016

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Real Estate in Crisis

Foreclosed and for sale homes line the 9800 block of Fast Elk Street in northwest  Las Vegas.

Photo by Richard Brian / Las Vegas Sun

Foreclosed and for sale homes line the 9800 block of Fast Elk Street in northwest Las Vegas.

The subprime mortgage crisis is hitting the Las Vegas metro area particularly hard. In fact, Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate in the country and the metro area is consistently one of the top five worse in the nation. The crisis jeopardizes further growth by creating an overflow of available homes, which in turn slows the construction of new homes and invariably effects property values. But at the same time it creates opportunities of more affordable housing for those who have been priced out of the market in recent years.

The crisis entails homeowners losing their houses after they are unable to afford their mortgage payment. It was brought about by lenders and banks giving risky loans, or subprime mortgages, to people with poor credit scores or finances. Low interest rates first attracted such homebuyers. However, as many loans were adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), higher interest rates down the road made payments nearly impossible, ultimately leading to foreclosure. Furthermore, predatory lenders have been accused of perpetuating the situation by unfairly taking advantage of uninformed or new buyers. There were a large number of investors who bought homes at the height of the market and expected to flip them for a profit, only to see values decline.

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