smart spending

10 years that shook America's finances

Year 2001Year 2002Year 2003Year 2004Year 2005Year 2006Year 2007Year 2008Year 2009Year 2010

Year 2006: Growing home prices create "bubble"

  • The year 2006 sees the peak of the housing bubble, with the median existing home price climbing to $221,900, more than four times the U.S. median household income at the time, according to the National Association of Realtors. The value of a typical American home climbs 50.4 percent since the beginning of the decade, with some markets such as Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., and Riverside-San Bernadino, Calif., more than doubling.
  • Homeowners respond to the run-up in housing prices by drawing record amounts of equity out of their homes through cash-out refinancing, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. All in all, Americans liquidate $318.3 billion in equity through cash-out refinances in 2006, according to Freddie Mac.
  • The rising federal funds rate contributes to rising yields on certificates of deposit, benefiting savers. In September, the average yield for a one-year CD hits 3.89 percent, a multiyear high that's a far cry from today's paltry average yield for one-year CDs of below 1 percent.
  • Alan Greenspan, the man largely credited with engineering the housing boom, retires on Jan. 31, ending a reign of more than 18 years as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He is replaced by Ben Bernanke.

-- Claes Bell

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