trend was really only seen in a handful of US markets. In fact, the term “Las Vegas Condo” became, in certain circles, crude shorthand for the exact sort of bets most private equity real estate firms do not want to make: expensive, risky, highly speculative and right down the hall from some starlet de jour.
But it isn't just speculative, absentee investors looking to make some money off the Vegas condo craze. Another person hoping to catch the upside of the condo wave is Manuel Corchuelo, whose Vegas home sits in the middle of a former-slum-turned-hot-developmentarea between the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas. As the condo high-rises sprout up around him, Corchuelo is responding to the boom the way any responsible real estate owner would — he's upped the price for his small, ramshackle home to $1.2 million. And he thinks he can get it.
Las Vegas brokers quoted in an Associated Press story about Corchuelo and his shack laughed off the asking price as “unrealistic,” even as they rapidly close deals for adjacent lots. The 5-acre property behind Corchuelo's has been earmarked for a group of Miami investors (who, in all honesty, should know something about hot markets and condominiums).
Corchuelo might want to sell sooner, rather than later: there is some question about the ongoing demand for luxury, high-rise condominiums in the city. According to Las Vegas consulting firm Applied Analysis, there are currently 47,500 condo units in varying planning and development stages, accounting for more than 175 high-rise condo towers. Those in the know predict only about one-third will ever become a reality, leaving a lot of fodder for opportunity funds looking to bet on Las Vegas in 2006.