- Millions of Americans became stockholders in the late 1990s, just in time to experience the biggest bear market in a generation. Does the same fate await millions of first-time homeowners?
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The housing boom's demise has been wrongly predicted many times already. Still, there are straws in the wind. Housing starts and new-home sales both fell sharply in November and mortgage applications to buy homes dropped in early January. Prices in two of the world's most buoyant housing markets, Australia's and Britain's, have stopped rising. The International Monetary Fund has found that housing booms and busts are synchronized around the world, so those countries' experience may foreshadow the U.S.'s