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Guest Post: Housing is not a good investment

mathbabe

This is a guest post by Josh Snodgrass.

Housing is not a good investment, and it never was.

Our country has a special reverence for home ownership as a route to comfort and prosperity – and so provides subsidies and tax breaks. But, actually, housing is not nearly as good an investment as people think and it wasn’t so good historically, either. The big gains people earned from housing in the past were mostly the result of leverage, forced savings and inflation.

Many, white, middle-class American families have a story that goes something like this: They bought a home with a $10,000 down payment. While they raised their children there, the house grew in value to $250,000 which provided the funds to send their kids to college with something left over for their retirement.

This idyllic story led us to mythologize housing but it is just that, a myth. While the facts are true, the growth is a…

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