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Letter: Homes aren't investments

Concrete contractor Gary Wagenbach uses a rake to

Concrete contractor Gary Wagenbach uses a rake to level pea gravel in the basement of a home being built by Blume Construction in East Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, March 16, 2012. The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release new homes sales data on March 23. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Gary Wagenbach Photo Credit: Bloomberg/Daniel Acker

It should come as no surprise that home prices on Long Island have returned to 2004 levels ["After the bubble," Business, April 22]. Treating this unique asset as a vehicle for investment was the source of the problem.

Traditionally, a house was purchased as the foundation of a lifestyle. It provided one of the most basic survival needs: shelter. In that regard, a house could be used while modestly increasing in value over time -- a unique asset indeed. Comparing a house to a comic book is ludicrous. One can't live in a comic book.

The presumption that housing values would increase exponentially turned out to be short-lived. Housing was purchased without regard to credit worthiness, to flip for profit and to use as leverage to incur further debt. We should consider ourselves fortunate that housing is commensurate with 2004 levels, not 1904!

Time to get back to basics. A house should be a home, not a commodity.

Ed Weinert, Melville


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