For most Americans, owning a home is the principal means of saving for the future. However, this does not sway economists when calculating the ‘personal savings rate’.

(See: “Do Negative Savings Rates Really Matter?”)

Over the last decade, Americans have gradually increased their level of mortgage borrowing from 60% of new investment in residential real estate to over 150%. In other words, individuals have been cashing out on the equity in their homes and taking the money for other purposes.

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