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Boomers and Housing: A Symbiotic Relationship Unravels

Boomers and Housing: A Symbiotic Relationship Unravels (News (General))

by administrator @, Monday, August 03, 2009, 18:41

When the housing market was soaring, many baby boomers thought of their homes as piggy-banks that could be cracked open in retirement to finance retirement.

High housing prices would allow us to leverage equity to finance our lifestyles, buy second homes or pay entry fees into retirement communities. That thinking was encouraged by the financial services industry, which aggressively marketed low-interest mortgage debt and equity-to-cash products like home equity loans and reverse mortgages.

But the piggy bank was smashed when the housing market crashed. And today's high unemployment rates, sagging incomes and rising foreclosure rates make it unlikely that we'll see a strong rebound anytime soon in housing. True, the widely-watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index released this week showed U.S. home prices rose in May on a month-to-month basis for the first time since July 2006. But that shouldn't be taken as a sign that the market is going to rebound to pre-crash levels anytime soon. At best, the Case-Shiller index hints that we may have found a bottom in housing. Maybe.

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