In the Foreclosure Capital the Real Estate Market is…”Hot”?

Las Vegas continues at or near the top of the default charts, but that hasn’t stopped big money from rushing into the city of dreams and second chances. “Las Vegas is coming back in a big way,” Eric Trump, son of Donald Trump. told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

If a Trump says so, it must be right.

MGM Resorts International announced yesterday the bulk sale of 427 condo units at Veer Towers, the twin residential towers at CityCenter. The units fetched $119 million, or about $279,000 per unit. If memory serves that’s about half what MGM was looking to get for the units five years ago.

But hey it’s a green shoot in the green felt jungle, right?

“This is new money coming into a marketplace that hasn’t seen a lot of investment,” Tony Dennis of MGM said. “Even though it’s a cyclical thing and it’s taken us a little longer to come back, this is an affirmation of the current market in general and an indication that things will get better from here.”

So who is the smart money buying condos in bulk on the LV Strip? LVT Owner LLC, an entity of New York investment firm Ladder Capital Finance a firm founded in 2008.

Meanwhile 208 acres in a busted North Las Vegas master planned community went for $19.8 million this week. “We’re very excited about the demand for finished lots in the Las Vegas real estate market,” Brad Shuckhart, vice president of land acquisitions for Irvine, Calif.-based SunCal told the Review Journal.

Speaking of finished lots, Lennar Homes purchased 167 finished residential lots in northwest Las Vegas for $5.2 million, or about $31,000 a lot, and plans to close escrow on another 160 lots early next year.

These lots are small, 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, but “the market’s so hot right now, builders don’t have a lot of choice,” Rick Hildreth told the RJ.

So the big money is rushing in while thousands of little people strategically squat. The Christian Science Monitor reports,

Las Vegas no longer has the highest foreclosure rate among major metropolitan areas. After 22 months in the top spot – a dubious honor – it fell to No. 5 in October, according to a new report.

But there’s little cheering in Las Vegas – the city’s two newspapers didn’t even report it – because the drop is happening for the wrong reason. Instead of a big decline in foreclosures, the drop mostly represents a delay in processing them – a phenomenon that has rippled throughout the United States.

Cheap Bernanke money must go somewhere. That doesn’t mean it’s smart money.