Saturday, September 26, 2009

Don't Bank On Your Home As An ATM

Posted By: Lisa Matthys

Written By: Peter Hong

For generations of Americans, a home was seen not simply as a dwelling, but as an engine of personal wealth. That view was promoted by the home-building and real estate sales industries as well as the U.S. government, which subsidized home loans and provided tax deductions for mortgage interest.

There have been booms and busts along the way, but from the second half of the last century through the start of this one, nothing derailed the real estate locomotive on its uphill climb. The train stalled here and there and rolled back now and then, but each time it roared back up and got homeowners to the mountaintop.

Now, however, the worst housing crash since the Great Depression may mean that a home purchase ought to be considered with the same warning issued to investors in securities: Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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