Las Vegas saw the housing boom before Phoenix. Las Vegas saw housing inventory hit the teens before Phoenix (now almost a 14 months supply in the Phoenix MLS).

Will Phoenix see real estate brokerages follow in the footsteps of the mortgage industry which has seen prominent firms close up shop?

Jimmy Dague, who has sold real estate in Las Vegas since 1978 and whose business was the No. 1 worldwide in sales for Century 21 from 2002 to 2006, filed last week for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors while he reorganizes to pay off his debts.

The 54-year-old said that even when his business was Century 21’s top seller in 2006, he still lost money. Dague said that’s because his sales fell 60 percent from 2005 to 2006, but he kept the same number of staff – and the same overhead – in his nine offices.

“This is the result of an exuberant market and us growing and, honestly, I had signed leases for nine offices. Now I have five,” he said. “As you can imagine, the four landlords are not happy.”