PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The end of the housing bubble could mean substantial losses in home value for millions of Americans, reports RealEstateJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal's guide to property. Housing prices, adjusted for inflation, are up 36% since 1995 -- the steepest boom in at least 50 years -- according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. Although the overall economy could bear a flattening or modest decline in house prices, many young Americans -- who were encouraged to buy homes because of low interest rates or government homeownership programs for low-income individuals -- could experience financial hardship when the housing bubble bursts. And, if interest rates rise, some buyers who stretched their purchasing power with adjustable-rate loans and interest-only mortgages could face financial problems. "As long as prices remain near today's levels, most homeowners will still have a lot of equity against which they can borrow to finance other types of spending," says Valerie Patterson, senior producer, RealEstateJournal.com. "However, if housing prices take a nosedive, many families would be unable to sell their home for enough to pay off the outstanding mortgage." RealEstateJournal.com offers this advice for potential homebuyers: * Figure out how much you can afford before looking at a property. * Try to put down at least 20% of a home's cost. * Borrow what you need to borrow, not what you can borrow. * Understand your arrangement with your real-estate agent. * Hire a lawyer who is familiar with real-estate contracts. For more real-estate guidance and advice, visit http://www.RealEstateJournal.com. About RealEstateJournal.com RealEstateJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal Guide to Property, is the Internet's premier site for people seeking real estate guidance for both commercial and residential properties. About Dow Jones & Company Dow Jones (NYSE: DJ; http://www.dowjones.com) publishes the global Wall Street Journal with its international and online editions; Barron's; the Far Eastern Economic Review; Dow Jones Newswires and Indexes; MarketWatch; and Ottaway newspapers. Dow Jones co-owns Factiva with Reuters, SmartMoney with Hearst and CNBC television operations in Asia and Europe with NBC Universal.