Real estate

Millions of Americans make 5x leveraged bets on their homes

Data: Unison Home Price Volatility Index; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

You wouldn't make a 5x leveraged bet on the S&P 500 — not unless you were an extremely sophisticated financial arbitrageur, or a reckless gambler.

Even then you wouldn't put substantially all of your net worth into such a bet. Stocks are just too volatile. But millions of Americans make 5x leveraged bets on their homes — that's what it means to borrow 80% of the value of the house and put just 20% down.

The NBA's real estate mogul

Luol Deng. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Luol Deng. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Luol Deng has made $151 million playing basketball during his 15-year NBA career. All the while, he's been investing in real estate, amassing an impressive portfolio worth $125 million.

Why it matters: "Real estate might not be as sexy or generate the headlines of athletes pouring money into tech startups, but the potential returns can be much more lucrative," writes Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen.