Tags: housing | bust | hughes

Housing Bust Hits Hughes Heirs Hard

Wednesday, 28 Oct 2009 08:37 AM

By Dan Weil

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The burst of the housing bubble has hurt people around the country. You can add Howard Hughes’ heirs to the list.

His last major asset, 7,000 acres of land in Las Vegas called the Summerlin development, has plummeted in value, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The eccentric billionaire bought the land in the 1940s so that he would have an inland location for his Hughes Aircraft Co.

The value of the land, once estimated at up to $2 billion, has sunk thanks to the housing bust.

The property also has suffered from the bankruptcy of General Growth Properties.

The major mall owner controls the land and was to make a final payment to Hughes’ heirs early next year. That payment is supposed to equal half the land’s appraised value at the end of this year.

Hughes had no children and left no will when he died in 1976. So his estate has grown to 1,000 heirs and beneficiaries.

"There's terrible disappointment," Platt Davis, a retired lawyer in Houston and second cousin of Hughes, told The Wall Street Journal. He leads the group of heirs along with two other beneficiaries.

While it may be too late to help Hughes’ heirs, many experts say the housing market is starting to rebound.

"I really believe that the industry has bottomed, that we're not going to see further crashes in home prices or in home sales," ace bank analyst Dick Bove told CNBC.

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