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08/28/2005 Archived Entry: "A mainstream look at turning equity into debt"


Homeowners took $59 billion in cash out of their houses in the second quarter, double the amount in the 2004 quarter and 16 times the average rate of the mid-1990s, according to data released this month by mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

People are cashing out so quickly that the term "homeowner" may soon be inaccurate. Fifty years ago, Americans owned, on average, three-quarters of their house and the lender owned the rest. These days, it's approaching an even split. ...

[T]hriftiness has gone out of fashion. What was once considered undesirable taking on large debt is now seen as smart. And what used to be smart becoming debt-free is described as imprudent.

"If you paid your mortgage off, it means you probably did not manage your funds efficiently over the years," said David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors and author of "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?" "It's as if you had 500,000 dollar bills stuffed in your mattress."

This is, however, not a Lew Rockwell-type article warning about the dangers of such madness. It's a mainstream piece which doesn't necessarily think all this is bad. You can read it here.

(Thank you to SJ for the find.)

Posted by Claire @ 04:07 PM CST

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