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  by W. Troy Swezey

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Opportunities to make big, quick profits in residential real estate tend to come and go in cycles. When a local market is hot, families may find it possible to buy a house at an attractive price, fix it up, and watch its value rise in just a few years.

When the same local market is at the low end of the appreciation cycle, reaping a profit on the family home can take a good deal more time but the reward can be just as satisfying if price and location and carefully considered.

Even in uncertain economic times like these, history shows that real estate is one of the soundest investments a family can make. During the Great Depression of the 1930s when the stock market plummeted as much as 89 percent, housing prices dropped only 39 percent. According to most of the research on housing trends, prices continually stay at the same level as, and most often appreciate faster than, the rate of inflation. Housing prices actually rose an average of 10 percent during the recessions of the mid-1970’s and early 1980s.

CENTURY 21 statisticians report that the rate of home appreciation since 1990 has been around five percent nationally, with inflation hovering around four percent. Homeowners, obviously, are still staying ahead in the real estate game on average.

And, with mortgage interest rates the lowest they’ve been in two decades, real estate today is a more attractive investment than it’s been in years.
 
     
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