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The Argument Against Home Ownership

If you pay a 20% down payment for a home, you’re making a leveraged bet that the home will maintain or grow its value.
July 18, 2019, 12pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Fancy House
Kit Leong

There's a lot of policy aimed at pushing Americans toward home ownership. Joe Cortright argues that impetus can push homebuyers toward a risky bet. "Whether homeownership turns out to be a wealth-building, or wealth destroying endeavor depends a lot on timing and luck–you have to buy the right house, at the right time, in the right neighborhood, for the right price," writes Cortright.

Cortright argues that one problem in the housing market is a wealth of biased information. It will always be in realtor’s interest to tell buyers it’s a great time to get into the housing market. Often it’s not: 30% of homes are worth less money five years after they’ve been sold. And the loss of value of a home is all the more punishing when a buyer has gone into debt to make the purchase.

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Published on Monday, July 15, 2019 in City Observatory
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