The hedge fund tycoon who made billions of dollars from betting against sub-prime mortgages is close to launching a new fund that will make a profit when property prices rebound.

It is understood that Paulson & Co, the alternative asset manager set up by John Paulson in 1994, is going through the final regulatory hurdles before its distressed property vehicle starts fundraising.

A spokesman for Paulson & Co, which currently manages almost $29bn (£19bn) in assets, declined to comment.

Paulson announced the plan to invest in property in his end-of-year letter to investors. The Real Estate Recovery Fund will have a 'private-equity format,' Paulson said, and lock investors in for a lengthy period.

The company has hired Mike Barr to oversee the new fund, assisted by Jonathan Shumaker. Both arrived from Lehman Brothers' real estate private equity team.

The Independent