West Columbia SC Apartments Blog


Seattle and New England Super Bowl Recipes – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Planning this year’s Super Bowl party at your apartment in West Columbia, SC? A super bowl party is as much about the food as the football. Pick some great recipes that represent the two teams represented in the game.

New England and Seattle will be facing off in the Super Bowl. If you want to be adventurous, here are some recipes that represent both regions.

Lobster Nachos from New England

  • 1 13.5-ounce bag of white or red corn tortilla chips
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 4-ounce cans baby shrimp, drained (I used BumbleBee Premium Select Tiny Shrimp)
  • 8-14 ounces of cooked lobster meat
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 16-ounce jar of salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Layer tortilla chips in a 13"x9"x2" baking dish.
  3. Blend cheeses. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture and tomatoes over tortilla chips.
  4. Melt butter in large frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Add garlic and onion to pan and sauté until onions are tender, approximately two minutes.
  6. Add shrimp and lobster meat and heat until warm, about three minutes.
  7. Drain and layer warm seafood mixture on top of nachos.
  8. Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted.
  9. Top with scallions and dollops of sour cream. Serve hot with salsa on the side.

Serving Suggestion: Wash these Lobster Nachos down with Shipyard Export Ale, which is brewed in Portland, Maine, and available throughout the U.S.

Smoked Salmon Dip

If you don’t care for hot pepper sauce, omit that ingredient. Chives are a fine substitution for the green onion. Serve this with your favorite cracker, toast points or pumpernickel cocktail rye bread.

  • 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 12 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill weed
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green onion

In a medium bowl, stir cream cheese until it is no longer in a hard form. Add salmon, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, dill and onion; mix well. Serve.

Recipe Source: allrecipes.com, Abouttravel

Moving to Columbia, SC? Consider Renting an Apartment in West Columbia

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

There are many reasons to move to Columbia, SC. Businesses, Fort Jackson, and the University of South Carolina, the state's flagship and largest university, have all brought many new residents to our great city. If you are moving here, you should consider renting an apartment in West Columbia, SC. If you are relocating for a job or relocating for retirement, South Carolina is a dream location, it is the perfect place to call home.

From West Columbia and Abberly Green Apartment Homes you can enjoy easy access to I-26, quick commutes to Downtown Columbia and Lake Murray, and the convenience of a variety of shopping, dining and recreation experiences just minutes away.

If you like the outdoors, the Congaree River is nearby and is popular with paddlers and kayakers. The city, as well as Finlay Park, has been refurbished in recent years. In fact, the Congaree Vista district in Columbia is now a  thriving district for art galleries, shops, and restaurants.

West Columbia is a city that is convenient to mountains and lakes, offering wonderful weather all year round and gardens that are always in bloom. West Columbia offers you many activities for every lifestyle and an affordable cost of living.

Living at Abberly Village  gives you spacious floor plans with 9' ceilings, gorgeous crown molding, large walk-in closets and expansive windows for an abundance of natural light. If you are just moving to Columbia it might be a good idea to consider renting. With a ready-made community to assist you in making friends, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness area, pool, and other apartment amenities, an apartment community might be the right choice in making this city your home. For more information, contact us.


World Beer Festival This Weekend, Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 15, 2015

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC you can round out Craft Beer Week at The World Beer Festival on  Saturday, January 17 offers you a chance to sample from over 200 craft & specialty beers from around the world. Two sessions: 12-4PM & 6-10PM

Start planning your beer adventure!

General Admission gets you a tasting glass with unlimited 2oz tastings from over 200 of the finest beers!
Access into the Art of Beer Experience for beer ingredient samplings, pairings, educational seminars, a mini commercial brewery and more!

The VIP Admission gets you a tasting glass with unlimited 2oz tastings from over 200 of the finest beers!
A bonus selection of rare and unique beers
Access into the Art of Beer Experience for beer ingredient samplings, pairings, educational seminars, a mini commercial brewery and more!
A private VIP lounge
3 issue subscription to All About Beer Magazine

Food available for purchase -we have reduced ticket prices and will not be providing a food buffet in VIP, but don’t worry! The beer selection will be a cut above the rest and the convention center will be providing a beer-themed menu to purchase from!

Why should you attend the World Beer Festival Columbia in 2015?

  • Expanded SC Beer Garden – The 2015 event will feature an expanded selection of beers from the Palmetto State.
  • New Belgian Bier Garden! – Embark on a one of a kind tasting adventure in this new area dedicated to showcasing the beauty and diversity of Belgian beer.
  • Silent Disco – It’s back! Enjoy some time dancing to a fabulous DJ where only you and your fellow dancers can hear the music!
  • Live Music – In addition to the silent disco, the event will feature live music from a local band.
  • Excellent presentations – participate in seminars lead by beer experts and get your tickets for a cheese & beer pairing seminar!
  • Improved food selection – Some major changes at the Convention Center will allow for improved food choices.
  • Taste Beer Fest Beer II- This year’s collaboration beer will be an American IPA, brewed with River Rat Brewery

More information, click here  

Renting From Apartment Communities Has Advantages – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Many people who are considering renting apartments in West Columbia, SC are trying to decide whether or not to rent from an apartment community or from an individual. While there can be advantages to both, there are plenty of advantages and benefits to renting from an apartment community.

Here are just a few:

  • Rental apartment communities will typically have a maintenance staff either working at the property or working from the main office. Having that staff readily available makes maintenance of the property and fixing broken down items within the apartments much easier to get done in a timely manner.
  • Apartment communities in some cases offer apartment amenities like a fitness center or a pool. This eliminates the travel time of going to the gym and will save you the cost of a gym membership. This is handy for those of us for whom just getting out the door to the gym is half the battle. For those of you with stronger resolve, this may not be a problem.
  • An apartment community in some cases will have a concierge that will receive packages, keep your dry cleaning for pick up and delivery and sometimes refer you to pet sitting services and restaurants in the area.
  • In some cases, an apartment community will have social events for the tenants.
  • Rents cannot typically be negotiated in a rental community.
  • Security deposits in apartment communities are typically less than one month’s rent or lower.
  • Amenity or administrative fees are often charged to the tenant and can be $300 to $500. These fees often take the place of a move-in fee.
  • Upfront pet fees can be $300 to $750.
  • Monthly pet rents are typically higher.

For more information on renting in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village Apartment Homes.

Washington Post

“Accidental Love” Filmed in Columbia, SC will be in Theatres Soon

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 09, 2015

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC you may have heard about the hype about the movie that is now finally being released.  A star-studded, political satire was filmed in Columbia in 2008 and will finally get its chance to hit the screens.

A trailer for “Accidental Love,” which was known as “Nailed” when it was shot around Columbia and the State House seven years ago, was unveiled Tuesday along with release dates for the movie.

The movie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal andJessica Biel, will air on video-on-demand starting Feb. 10 and enter theaters on Feb. 20, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Biel plays an uninsured waitress who becomes unpredictable – earlier descriptions said “sex-crazed” – after a nail is accidentally shot into her head. She goes to fight for her rights in Washington, where she meets a congressman, played by Gyllenhaal. The movie also stars James Marsden,Catherine Keener, Tracy Morgan and James Brolin.

The trailer shows the S.C. House of Representative chamber made to look like the U.S. Capitol.
The film, co-written by Kristin Gore, a daughter of former vice president Al Gore, was directed by Academy Award-nominated David O. Russell. But Russell left the movie before shooting ended and his name no longer appears in the credits.

The shooting of “Accidental Love” was plagued by multiple stoppages because of financial troubles. The movie’s release was delayed because a key scene was not shot before filming stopped.

Watch the trailer here:

The State

Panthers Fans Need to Know These Facts About Seattle - West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 07, 2015

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC chances are you will be watching the Carolina Panthers play this weekend.  The Panthers won their first playoff game in nine years this past weekend.  Now in order to get their second win, they’ll have to do it against the defending Super Bowl champs.

Carolina will travel to Seattle for the NFC divisional round game. But, here are 10 things fans need to know about Seattle going into this weekend’s game:

1. Previous meetings: The Seahawks have won the past three games at Carolina since 2012. A 16-12 win in 2012 and a 12-7 victory in 2013 combine with this year’s win to give the Seahawks a victory margin of 13 points against the Panthers.

Carolina didn’t score a touchdown in their 2012 meeting, fumbled inside the 10 with 5 minutes, 25 seconds left in the 2013 game and allowed a touchdown in the final minute of this year’s game for the loss.

“We have played enough in the past that we are going to have a feel for them and they are going to have a feel for us,” Rivera said in his statement. “Our personnel is somewhat different, but I don’t think it will impact the preparation.”

Those games had three things in common: they were defensive battles, Cam Newton didn’t play well in any of them and they were all in Charlotte.

2. Seattle at home: The Seahawks are a remarkable 24-2 at home the past three seasons.

CenturyLink Field is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL because of Seattle’s 12th Man, the collective name for their fans. At one point, CenturyLink Field held the Guinness World Record for the loudest stadium in the world.

3. Yellow flags: The Seahawks led the league with 130 flags thrown against them this season. Only three times this season did Seattle finish with fewer penalties than its opponent, and those games all came at home.

4. Stingy defense: For the second consecutive year, the Seahawks finished with the top defense in the NFL. Opponents passed for just 185.6 yards per game while rushing for 81.5 yards.

The defense has played even better in the last third of the season. Since the Seahawks lost 24-20 to Kansas City in Week 11, they’ve allowed only one team (Philadelphia) to score more than seven points.

Teams have scored 3, 3, 14, 7, 6 and 6 points in the past six games against the Seahawks. In those games, Seattle has allowed 202 yards per game.

5. Russell Wilson everything: The former N.C. State star has proven you can win with a dual-threat quarterback.

What makes Wilson so dangerous is even when he’s scrambling toward the line of scrimmage, he’s still looking to pass. Wilson doesn’t sell out on running the ball until he has to, and that makes his run-pass threat even better.

Wilson has completed 63 percent of his passes this season and has thrown 20 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Perhaps most remarkable is that of those seven picks, he threw only one in Seattle’s four losses.

6. Inside All-Pro: This Saturday’s match will have the two first-team All-Pro inside linebackers from this season. Luke Kuechly and Seattle’s Bobby Wagner will control the middle of the second level of their team’s defenses. Wagner finished with 38 tackles in the month of December, helping him earn the NFC defensive player of the month award.

7. Opportunity knocks: Seattle scored 85 points this season on takeaways and allowed a league-low 38 points by opponents when they forced Seahawks turnovers.

The net 47 turnover points ranked fourth in the league this year. Carolina’s net of 9 points was 13th.

8. Beast Mode: For all the talk about running back Marshawn Lynch not talking to the media, there’s plenty to discuss about what he does on the field.

When Lynch goes into “Beast Mode” – one of his nicknames – watch out. Lynch rushed for 1,306 yards this season, and for the sixth time in nine seasons he reached the 1,000-yard plateau.

He rushed for a career-high 13 touchdowns this season, and he’s lost just one fumble in the past two years. Seattle will feed him against the Panthers. Lynch rushed 52 times in the three games against Carolina.

9. Distracted?: Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is one of the hottest names on the coaching circuit. With six NFL teams in need of a head coach, Quinn has reportedly interviewed with the Jets, Bears, Falcons and Bills. Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell also interviewed for head jobs.

10. Mutual respect: After rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin caught four passes for 94 yards against Seattle this year, All Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said Benjamin would be a good pro in the NFL.

Sherman is widely considered one of the top two cornerbacks in the league, but he couldn’t stop Benjamin from having a big day against him. Benjamin caught a 51-yard pass in double coverage against Sherman and fellow All-Pro safety Earl Thomas.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton showed he’s not afraid to throw Sherman’s way like other quarterbacks in the league.

Herald Online

The Famously Hot New Year Celebration in Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 31, 2014

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC head to The Famously Hot New Year celebration in the Capital City to ring in 2015. The downtown street party, in its fourth year, will feature music, fireworks and activities, as well as a VIP lounge and bus transportation throughout the Midlands.

The street festival attracted 26,000 people last year, and is expecting a comparable crowd this year. Here’s everything you need to know for your Famously Hot New Year.

The fun

Activities at and around the festival start early; Main Street Ice, the city’s ice skating rink, is open at noon on New Year’s Eve. While not officially part of the Famously Hot New Year, it is within walking distance of the event and open to the public, and will be open until the clock strikes midnight.

The Main Street Crit, a running race with multiple events, starts at 3 p.m. The Crit kicks off with a kids’ Fun Run, followed by a 5K and an Elite 8K. The elite 8K, for professional runners, has an $8,000 purse.

If you decide to bring the kids along for the fun, the city parks and recreation department is putting on a WOW New Year’s Eve Carnival with free admission. From 6 p.m. until 11 p.m., kids (and their parents) can play, get their faces painted and even ride a Ferris wheel. There will also be karaoke and food and drink vendors.

The food (and drink)

Refreshments and respite from the party can be found in the Comfort Zone. The area will have food and drinks from regional vendors as well as ample area to rest and recharge for more celebration. Local restaurants, including Bourbon, The Oak Table and Blue Marlin, have also partnered with the event to provide special New Year’s Eve packages.

The party is at the intersection of Main and Gervais streets, within walking distance of many restaurants and bars in the Vista and on Main Street.

The music

The new year will be rung in in Columbia with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the O’Jays. The R&B group is known for hits in the ’70s and ’80s that include “Love Train” and “Use ta Be My Girl.”

The trio, which has seven Billboard Top 20 singles and eight Billboard Top 20 albums, will boogie on Main Street until 11:55, helping guests boogie toward midnight.

Earlier in the night, partygoers can enjoy the music of indie pop band MisterWives. The band is looking forward to returning to Columbia; they played in the Capital City twice earlier in 2014. South Carolina’s famed hospitality extends to concert crowds, said bassist William Hehir.

Local favorite Lefty at the Washout will kicking off the musical part of the night at 7:30 with their fun reggae tunes.

The style

There’s no dress code for the Famously Hot New Year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get into the holiday spirit. You can find clothes snazzy enough to ring in the new year all over Columbia.

On Devine Street, you can deck yourself out in sequins at MyKim Collection or in the bright patterns of Lilly Pulitzer at Pink Sorbet. Just the Thing, another Devine Street boutique, has stylish wool coats in a variety of colors if you’re worried about staying warm when the clock strikes midnight.

If you’re looking for a more unique outfit, HipWaZee in Five Points has a wide selection of vintage apparel, including fur coats and flapper dresses.

Early weather predictions put New Year’s Eve night in Columbia in the 50s, so you won’t have to bundle up too tightly.

Looking for more inspiration? Go to the event’s Pinterest page at pinterest.com/famouslyhotnye or follow the hashtag #FHNYWhatToWear on Twitter and Instagram.

Getting there (and home)

For those who may need cabs home, Checker Yellow Cab and Budweiser of Columbia will cover the first $10 of your cab ride.


So Many Ways to Ring in 2015 in Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 30, 2014

If you live in apartment in  West Columbia, SC and are looking for a way to ring in 2015, we have a few ideas:

ART BAR’S FAMOUSLY FUNKY NYE: 8 p.m. at Art Bar, 1211 Park St. Ring in the New Year with the DJ Irv as he spins the soundtracks of Columbia’s hottest parties, tailgates and sporting events. Free. www.artbarsc.com

MUSIC FARM’S NYE PARTY: 8 p.m. at Music Farm Columbia, 1022 Senate St. Performances by Weaving the Fate, Ben G and Death of Paris.

WOW! NEW YEAR’S EVE CARNIVAL: 6-11 p.m. on Main St. A family-friendly carnival designed with early hours so that parents can spend quality time with their children on New Year’s Eve. Amusement rides, carnival games, karaoke and more.

FAMOUSLY HOT NEW YEAR: 8 p.m. on Main St. in front of the State House. South Carolina’s largest free NYE celebration with fireworks and live performances by the Misterwives, The O’Jays and Lefty at the Washout. For more information and for maps of entertainment locations.

NYE AT TIN ROOF: 10 p.m. at Tin Roof Columbia, 1022 Senate St. NYE celebration with performance by David and Whitney.

EDVENTURE NEW YEAR’S EVE AT NOON: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at EdVenture, 211 Gervais St. Columbia’s only ball drop for kids. As the countdown to noon begins, a giant illuminated ball descends and lands at the food of Eddie. Free with museum admission.

NEWBERRY NYE CELEBRATION: Midnight at Memorial Square in Downtown Newberry. The Dick Goodwin Big Band will be playing at the opera house’s “Roaring 1920s” party, a black-tie event starting at 8 p.m. For tickets to the show, contact the opera house box office at (803) 276-6264. If you can’t make it to the show, the grand finale will feature fireworks over downtown at midnight with the dropping of the ball from the opera house clock tower.

NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA: Dec. 31 at Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor, 710 Meeting St., West Columbia. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The 19-piece Blythewood Jazz Orchestra will perform 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Dress to impress (optional), enjoy refreshments, non-alcoholic champagne, party favors and dance until 2015.


The State

Perfect Holiday Cookie Recipes – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC you are most likely going to a holiday party or two. You may even be hosting one. (But, even if you aren’t there is nothing like having a special holiday cookie to munch on).

Here is a perfect, easy, and different cookie recipe for your get-together.

Chocolate Covered Snow Peaks

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips
Special Equipment: piping bag, medium size round tip


Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment until the whites become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and turn up the speed to medium, beating until just fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, while whisking, so it incorporates into the whites slowly without collapsing them. Once all the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and increase the speed to high, whisking until the meringue is firm and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.

Place the meringue into a piping bag with a medium-size round tip attached. Pipe 48 bite-size tear-drop-shaped meringues onto the sheets and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour undisturbed, and then turn off the heat and leave in the oven overnight to really dry out.

Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler or in the microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Holding each meringue by the peak, dip the bases in chocolate so the bottom half of the meringue is coated. Let any excess chocolate drip off before placing on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Allow to set at room temperature; do not put in the fridge. Once set, store in an airtight container.

Recipe and Video - foodnetwork.com

Why Your Home Is Not A Good Investment – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 22, 2014
I've come to believe that for millions of Americans, a house is a large liability masquerading as a safe asset.

Not just because of the recent housing crash, although what an eye-opener that was.

But because after watching real estate implode last decade, the average American still believes their home will make a great long-term investment. The best long-term investment, even.

As my colleague David Hanson wrote last week, a recent Gallup poll shows that Americans now believe housing is the best long-term investment, beating out stocks, bonds, and gold.

They might be right, only because the average stock investor does so poorly that a home may indeed be their best investment. But housing has historically been a terrible bet for people who think it will return more than inflation. To show you what I mean, I have to tell you about my visit to Yale economist Robert Shiller's office a year ago.

Shiller — who won the Nobel Prize last year — is regarded as the world's foremost housing expert. He has married historical data with deep insight into human psychology to offer some of the best housing analysis anyone's ever produced.

Not only is Shiller brilliant, but he's one of the nicest guys I've ever met, easy to talk to and puts things in clear, easy-to-understand language. As we sat in his office eating donuts and drinking coffee, I asked him, in the broadest terms I could, what homeowners should expect out of their homes in the long run.

"The housing boom in the early 2000s was driven by a sense that housing is a wonderful investment. It was not informed by good history," he said. Most people now agree on that much.

"If you look at the history of the housing market, it hasn't been a good provider of capital gains. It is a provider of housing services," he explained.

By that, he means a home gives you a place to live, a place to sleep, a place to store your stuff.

But that's it. Americans believed — and still believe — that the value of their home will increase above the rate of inflation.

And that, Shiller says, is wrong.

"Capital gains have not even been positive. From 1890 to 1990, real inflation-corrected home prices were virtually unchanged."

Shiller — a pioneer of behavioral finance and one of the calmest, levelheaded economists I know — becomes animated at this point, almost irritated. Debunking the notion that housing is a great investment is one of his favorite topics.

Housing prices, he argues, could decline over long periods of time — decades, even.

"Why is that?" he asks me. I really don't know.

"Well, I think you have to reflect on the fact that it's done it before. Home prices declined for the first half of the 20th century [adjusted for inflation]. Economists discussed that back then. Why are they going down? The conclusion was ... of course home prices go down. There's technical progress. They are a manufactured good. Back in 1900, homes were handmade, you know, craftsmen. But now, in 1950, we can get all kinds of power tools and prefab. And [construction workers] were just better in 1950 than we were in 1900. So of course prices will go down."

Shiller also mentions that certain homes go out of style over time, dragging down prices. "What kind of houses will they be building in 20 years?" he wonders aloud. "They may have lots of new amenities. They will be computerized or something in some way that we can't anticipate now. So people won't want these old homes."

His animation peaked with a line I'll never forget.

"To me, the idea that buying a home is such a great idea is just wrong. They may very well decline for the next 30 years in real terms."

Real home prices may decline for the next 30 years.

The best thing about Shiller, and what sets him apart from your typical pundit, is that he has data to back up every point he makes.

In the early 2000s, Shiller wanted to see what nationwide home prices looked like over the long term. He was shocked to learn that no one had ever actually put that data together.

He dug around in libraries, crunched the numbers, and came up with an index that measured nationwide home prices going back to the 1890s.

This was a first. "The strange thing is, nobody else had ever made a plot like that. I can tell you, no one had ever seen that picture," he told me, shaking his head in disbelief. "People plot all kinds of data. Why wouldn't someone have done that? I still haven't figured it out."

The chart, measuring nationwide home prices adjusted for inflation, was this one:

From 1890 — just three decades after the Civil War — through 2012, home prices adjusted for inflation literally went nowhere. Not a single dime of real growth. For comparison, the S&P 500 increased more than 2,000-fold during that period, adjusted for inflation. And from 1890 to through 1980, real home prices actually declined by about 10%.

The reason Shiller warns that home prices could fall going forward is the simple observation that, heck, they've done it in the past. It's what history tells us to expect out of our homes. The entire idea that home prices increase in real terms over time is a figment of the 2000s housing bubble.

It's important to reiterate what a home does do: It provides a place to live. A place to raise your kids. A place to spend the holidays with your family. A place to barbecue with your neighbors. Even a place to rent out. That has tremendous value, of course. Shiller owns a home. He'd buy another if he needed one. "Basically, if I were in the market right now because I wanted a house, I would buy a house," he said.

The problem is that Americans expect more out of their homes than just a place to live. In 2010 — years after the housing bubble burst — Shiller's surveys showed Americans still expected their home to appreciate by more than 6% a year over the following decade. If history is any guide, that's probably about twice as fast as they'll actually appreciate by. Despite the housing crash, people still expect stock-like returns out of their homes.

Since a home is most Americans' largest asset, you can see how this becomes a problem. When you have inflated expectations about the largest asset you own, you walk down the path of financial disappointment. The value of American homes fell by nearly $7 trillion from 2007 to 2011. People who thought their homes would return enough to pay for retirement learned that Mr. Market carries a sledgehammer and takes no prisoners.

Everyone should live in a home they can afford and provides the lifestyle they desire. But assuming it's a superior long-term investment, one to rival stocks, is dangerous. There's just no evidence backing it up.

I think people run into two problems when thinking about the value of their house.

A home is typically the asset people hold the longest. They sell stocks after a few months, but keep a home for years, or decades. When you own something for that long, the returns you think you earned can be overwhelmingly due to inflation. The Consumer Price Index has increased six-fold since 1970. If you bought a house for $30,000 in 1970 and it's worth $180,000 today, you've earned nothing after inflation. You think you've made a fortune, but you haven't gone anywhere. Add in property taxes, insurance and repairs, and you're down.

Yes, you got to live in the house. That's huge. But it doesn't make living free.

If you have a mortgage, you're paying interest. If you own outright, or have a lot of equity, there's an opportunity cost of having money tied up in an asset that barely keeps up with inflation when you could have had it in something else, like stocks.

Say you and I both have $250,000. I buy a house for $250,000 cash, and you rent a house across the street for $1,000 a month and put $250,000 in the S&P 500. After 20 years, I'll have a house worth $200,000 in real terms, and you'll have a portfolio of stocks worth $330,000 adjusted for inflation (assuming the market's average real rate of return, and a 2% inflation rate on my rent payments). The difference between those two amounts is the opportunity cost of owning a house (and I didn't even include taxes, repairs, or insurance). In reality, it's hard to rent the same house for 20 years straight, and a lot of regions don't offer attractive rentals at all, so this probably isn't feasible. But it shows that the decision to own can be more about lifestyle and stability, not financial returns.

So, by all means, own a home. Just keep your expectations in check.

For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village Apartments.

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