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Buying a home builds wealth

June 05, 2009|By JIM WOODARD / Creators Syndicate

Q: Is buying a home a viable investment today?

A. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal took a negative view of homeownership as a viable investment. This prompted a quick response from the National Association of Realtors.

"The fact is, owning a home has proven to be one of the best ways to build wealth over the long term," the NAR responded. "We have compiled the world's largest set of housing data. The Journal could have seen the long-term value of homeownership if they had reviewed our extensive historical data. Instead, the (Wall Street) Journal built a case against homeownership, sampling a mere 20 market areas, many of which have seen tremendous price volatility over the short term. Such reporting makes headlines for its sensationalism, but is not a representative or realistic measure of home values over time."

Ostensibly, Wall Street Journal readers might conclude that housing is a bad investment and stocks are good, NAR noted. But anyone with a pulse in this country knows that most investors have recently lost more than 30 percent of their lifetime stock portfolios. The bottom line is that the purchase of a home is one of the best long-term investments, if not the very best, for most families.

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