REAL ESTATE: Fire Sale in The Oil Patch

Fire Sale in The Oil Patch

Looking for a bargain in real estate? Consider a visit to the spanking-new gallery that opened last week in Dallas. No, it is not just another branch of Century 21, but a dazzling display mounted by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation. Prospective buyers can browse through glossy pictures of a $13 million office tower in Houston or a 50-room $2 million hotel in New Orleans' French Quarter.

The glitzy gallery is part of the FSLIC's effort to unload some $408 million worth of properties inherited from failed thrift institutions, mostly in the troubled oil-patch states. If investors cannot find...