Owning a home provides more than shelter and a stable place to raise a family. For the majority of American households, homeownership is the steppingstone to a future of financial security. The answer is YES In the past five years, the market value of homes owned by U.S. households has soared from $11.5 trillion to stand at over $17 trillion. Further, housing equity – the value of a home minus any mortgage debt — increased by almost the same proportion — from $7.1 trillion to $10.6 trillion — over this timeframe. Home equity accounts for more than half of the total net wealth of the typical home owning family, making homeownership the primary source of a household’s net worth and the fundamental first step toward accumulating personal wealth. For most people, a home provides not only a place to live, but also serves as a sound investment, producing a solid rate of return with a low risk of loss. Since 1980, home prices nationally have increased at an average rate of about 5 percent annually and have never shown an annual loss. Although stock values increased at a higher rate, they were much more volatile, and the stock markets posted three consecutive years of decline (2001-2003) recently. Moreover, a home is an investment in the future, a product that will provide services for many years.