Now listen to this: "Pop"!
That's financial author and radio host Dave Ramsey popping the bubble of millions of Americans, on The Early Show Tuesday.
It turns out home ownership isn't always a good financial move. Homes are staying on the market longer and selling for less. Homes, says Ramsey, clearly are no longer the money-machines people believed them to be in recent years.
Beyond statistics, Ramsey has anecdotal evidence to make that point.
Every day, he's been getting calls from people who are "upside down" in their homes, meaning they owe more to the bank than their homes are now worth. It had been years since Ramsey received calls like that but, over the past four or five months, he's heard the same pleas for help every single day.
The majority of those in trouble are people who took "sub-prime" mortgages. For instance, if you took out an interest-only loan and financed the entire purchase, but now homes in your neighborhood are selling for $50,000 less than when you bought, you're in trouble. But Ramsey is also hearing from homeowners who moved for a new job and have been unable to sell their old homes.
So, what does all of this mean? Is it possible that a home is actually not as good of an investment as we've been led to believe?
That all depends, Ramsey says.
If you can comfortably afford a home and plan to keep it for a long time, then it's still smart to buy. But there are several sets of circumstances in which buying doesn't make financial sense.
For starters, Ramsey has pretty strict standards on what it means to be able to afford a home -- standards many interested buyers don't meet:
There are other instances in which Ramsey recommends holding off on a home purchase: