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Big Take

Wall Street Is Losing Out to Amateur Buyers in the Housing Slump

Big money spent a fortune snapping up homes. Now, regular folk are outsmarting the pros.

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Phoenix HP

Illustration: Gel Jamlang for Bloomberg Markets

Raad Yousif drives his pickup truck past cactuses and sandstone cliffs, hunting for Phoenix’s best real estate bargains. On this December weekday, he pulls into a subdivision of blocky pueblo-inspired town homes from the 1970s, the bare, dusty landscaping evoking the surrounding desert.

The 31-year-old Iraqi immigrant knows the neighborhood well. He got his start in the city as a janitor at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, just a five-minute drive away. Now his passion is flipping homes. And he’s quite good at it. He figures he made $200,000 buying and selling them in the two-year pandemic-fueled housing boom.