(Really, Really Big Piggy Banks)

Los Angeles – In recent years, millions of Americans looked at their houses and saw big, fat piggy banks. And it occurred to them to take out big, fat new mortgages…Traditionally, the super-rich didn’t really bother with mortgages. Home loans were for people who carry lunch buckets, not captains of industry.That changed in the boom years — and it is still going on. Recent big-time home borrowers include fashion entrepreneurs, hedge-fund titans and baseball-team magnates.Home loans “are a really good source of cheap capital,” says Robert Maguire, a real-estate tycoon who built some of the tallest officer towers in L.A. He has been raising money with an eye toward regaining control of his property firm, Maguire Properties Inc., which he lost during the real-estate bust. Even as he borrows against his beach retreat, Mr. Maguire is trying to sell it for $29 million. By hocking the house, so to speak, he and others say they are simply borrowing low in hopes of investing in something they believe will yield a high return.
By John R. Emshwiller

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