The more things change...

Some of the very same conditions that led to the housing meltdown in 2007 are reappearing as big investors snatch up homes in depressed markets, creating a real estate bubble that could burst again. Reuters: Michael Marchillo, a plumber, has been trying and failing for months to buy a bigger home for his family here in Sin City. He was pre-qualified by a bank for a $130,000 mortgage, which a year ago would have landed a typical three-bedroom home in the area. No more. Now, the 36-year-old says, it's hard to compete with "greedy investors" who come to the table flush with cash for quick deals. Local real-estate broker Fafie Moore says private-equity firms and hedge funds have largely "crowded out" local buyers like Marchillo. That's because the investment firms have broadened beyond their initial focus - buying homes at foreclosure auctions. Now, they are also bidding for homes listed by private owners and banks. In a sign of how freely the money is flowing, Moore...(Read Full Post)

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