Vegas Realty Crisis, Meet Reality TV: CNBC Flips Over Foreclosures

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Las Vegas
If America's subprime mortgage crisis was an earthquake, Las Vegas would be the epicenter.

From 2008 to 2011, homes in the city lost approximately half their value. Meanwhile, its unemployment rate more than tripled. By 2010, nearly two out of every three Nevadan homeowners were underwater on their mortgages. As Business Insider commented recently: "[T]he subprime mortgage crisis" left "no major U.S. city ... more devastated than Las Vegas."

But all that suffering makes for great TV. Or at least CNBC hopes so, because the network is busy turning Las Vegas' economic disaster into a reality show.

Keying off of Las Vegas' still-prominent place on the national misery index, the cable news network plans to air a new reality television show called Flipping Wars: Vegas.

As CNBC sees it, "the housing market plunge" may have left thousands of families living in boxes, but on the bright side, it's "created big opportunities for folks who are willing to ... take a gamble" and buy a foreclosure in Vegas, to try and flip it for a profit.

In the show, CNBC aims to follow "four teams of wheeler dealers who see dollar signs every time they bid on a foreclosed home." In other words, every week, Americans can tune in to watch profiteers buying and flipping the houses of poor working-class folks who were made homeless by the mortgage crisis.

It's basically Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous meets Lifestyles of the Opportunistic and Avaricious.

Surely, You Can't Be Serious

Yes, CNBC is serious. Last year, Las Vegas had the highest home foreclosure rate in the nation. This year, things are looking up, with "only" one out of 49 housing units in the Las Vegas area receiving a foreclosure notice so far.

Foreclosure-tracker RealtyTrac says Las Vegas is now only No. 9 in foreclosures. (Hurray!) But if anyone can figure a way to make a buck off of other people's problems, it's CNBC.

So get ready to take a lighthearted romp through the devastation that is the Las Vegas housing market. Make sure to set your DVRs ... assuming you still have somewhere to plug them in.


Motley Fool contributor Rich Smith holds no position in any company mentioned.

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tarpon007

The job market is improving?. Hello did you read todays report. Unemployment is up to 8.3%.
Either you are in love with Obama or blind to reality.

August 03 2012 at 2:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kenneth

Don't weep for Las Vegas--we will be fine once Harry Reid secures $5 to $8 Billion of federal funding for the construction of the Desert Express high-speed rail line. It will run from Vegas to somewhere in California (maybe Barstow?), where hourly trains (carrying perhaps 100 passengers at a one-way fare of $500) will disgorge people who then will have to get into their cars to drive the rest of the way to Los Angeles, or wherever. The word is that Dirty Harry Reid will be Chairman and his son, Rory, will be the President/CEO, while Shelley Berkley will have some unspecified role, perhaps as chief stewardess, at a salary of $500K per year. I mean, after all, politicians who are not re-elected have to have something on which to fall back.

August 03 2012 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kenneth

I have been reading recently about the period immediately following the Civil War, when the federal government (under the inept Andrew Johnson and later, the corruption-infested U.S. Grant Administrations) tried to stabilize and "reconstruct" the country, and have noticed the remarkable similarities between then and now. Modern-day "carpetbaggers" swoop in and take advantage of the ruin wreaked by the (War)/(Housing Bubble-Burst).

August 03 2012 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
smiles41

Where is Harry Reid? Where are the liberal saviors of those in foreclosure? The liber silence is deafening..

August 03 2012 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bubba1zfg

Maybe Harry Reid should quick worrying about Romney's tax returns and focus on the state that hired him to represent them in Washington! Home foreclosures and job loss should be his priority instead of playing politics!

August 03 2012 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scottee

everyone in Nevada can thank Harry Reid. did you have fun owning a home for a short time? also, send a thank you note to Barney Frank and Chris Dodd...

August 03 2012 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JOSE-USMC-0311

A HOME FORECLOSURE IS A FAMILY DREAMS DESTROYED...SOME OF IT IS THEIR OWN FAULT--OTHER JOBS OUTSOURCING---BUSINESS CUTTING BACK.

WHEN I SEE THE HOME INVESTORS FLIPPING THOSE HOMES ?? I SEE LEECHES AND SCABINGERS..
LIKE WHEN AN ANIMAL IS DEAD, YOU SEE SCABINGERS CIRCLING AROUND . THAT IS MY OPINION OF HOME REHABERS ---INVESTORS WHO BUY THE HOMES FROM THE BANK FOR NOTHING..

INSTEAD OF HELPING THE HOME OWNERS , OUR GOVERNMENT HELPED THOSE CORPORATIONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOWN ECONOMY. MAKING BAD BETS AND LOSING $$ BILLIONS .

WHO PAID THE PRICE ??? HARD WORKING LOW INCOME PEOPLE WHO LOSS THEIR JOBS DUE TO CUT BACKS..

WELCOME TO GREEDY AMERICA..

August 03 2012 at 5:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JOSE-USMC-0311's comment
scottee

blame both parties in congress....and us for re-electing most of them over and over again. they have way too much power and we allow it...

August 03 2012 at 8:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jwells1008

Huff n Puff doesn't like to make money off other peoples "misery"?

August 02 2012 at 9:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mingo

Hey ! wait a minute I heard harry Reid say there was NO crisis in Vegas or the state of Nevada What part of reality is that Who is the clown now?

August 02 2012 at 8:54 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mingo's comment
scottee

and the President says everything is fine....especially if you re-elect him.

August 03 2012 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dxl504

Hey I heard Romney say "let foreclosures run their course!!" He is an expert of destroying lives so he should know

August 03 2012 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dxl504's comment
docmetcalf1955

shut up stupid

August 05 2012 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
JOSE-USMC-0311

JOB OUTSOURCING SHOULD BE A CRIME. OUTSOURCING THE JOBS SO RICH PEOPLE CAN PUT MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS.. HOW MANY MILLIONS DO THEY NEED TO LIVE ON ???????

GREED IS DESTROYING AMERICA. 50 % OF AMERICANS ARE POOR ACCORDING TO A STUDY BY CNN. SAD AND SHAMEFUL.

August 02 2012 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JOSE-USMC-0311's comment
scottee

it started in the 1980's....shortly after Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard....and congress has been having a blast with power and money since then. congress rewards greed... plain and simple.
congress is the 1%

August 03 2012 at 8:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply