Beating the Cost of Mortgages

The bewildering array of new ways to finance buying a home

"I made the last payment on the house I today," cries Willy Loman's widow at the conclusion of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. "We're free and clear." Many Americans still consider owning a home a virtual birthright, as well as a necessary inflation hedge. But today people are being forced to find ingenious and complex schemes to beat the high cost of achieving Loman's dream.

Mortgage rates in many areas have now surged to 16% or higher, and last week's tightening of...

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