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Keeping Track: home equity

Stagnant despite record level of ownership

A record 67 percent of Americans own homes. But equity in those homes has not climbed. Between 1989 and 1999, in fact, average home equity per homeowner declined, in inflation-adjusted dollars, from $91,000 to $89,500.

One reason: Young householders appear to be borrowing heavily against their homes. In 1999, according to an analysis of US Census figures by the Consumer Federation of America, homeowners under 45 had 14 percent less equity than those in that age group did a decade earlier.

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Equity did increase among those with incomes below their regional medians (up 6 percent) and among African-Americans (up 12 percent).

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society