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1997: It Was A Very Good Year

Ahhh, 1997. Pre-Internet boom. Pre-housing boom. Pre-college graduation. If only we could go back in time, we'd surely be millionaires by now. The OC Register looks at some of those lucky enough to have bought a home in 1997, who have since watched their investments double, then triple to the point that their wealthiness disgusts us.

In 1997, newlywed Joy Gustafson borrowed $5,000 from her grandfather to buy a house to raise a family in.

That $5,000 investment, used as a down payment for a $211,500 Brea starter home, not only provided shelter for her budding family, but also sprouted enough seed money for a vacation home.

The Gustafsons borrowed against their home's increasing value and bought a house at Lake Havasu with a view of the water.

"When we bought this house (in Brea), we had no money," said Gustafson, 35, who now shares the home with her husband, Erick, 38, son Luke, 6, daughter Ashley, 4, and a German short-hair pointer, Peanut. "We just figured it couldn't stay as low as it was much longer, and we were right," she said.

Other early buyers have used their home equity to send kids to college or go into business for themselves. In related news, the Register also reports that the median home price in the OC hit $621,000 in December - an all time high.
· Riding nine years of rising property values [OCRegister.com]