Real E$tate Empire is a charming sim/tycoon game in which, as you might expect, you buy houses, spruce them up, and flip them for profit. While intended primarily for the 'casual' game market (with the cartoony and brightly colored graphics this implies), it has a surprising degree of depth, and we suspect that the developer has done some real estate investing himself.
The developer, Lennard Feddersen, is something of a refugee from the conventional game industry. With NES and PC games from major publishers to his credit, he's now working to make a living doing games that interest him.
Real E$tate Empire is, like most casual games, a hard game to lose--you have to imagine that it's set someplace like Southern California, where real estate prices have increased almost every year for decades. People living in, say, St. Louis, may simply find it depressing. But most should find it fun, and perhaps even educational to a degree.
Oh, and: There's a mod tool you can use to create your own "towns"; you can! download it here.