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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 10:24 GMT
Millions 'lack financial back-up'
Person holding crumpled 5 notes
Having cash readily available makes financial sense
Millions of families have no easily available financial back-up should house prices fall and the economy worsen, a study has suggested.

A University of Durham report said nearly two-thirds of homeowners are ploughing all their savings, apart from pensions, into their property.

As a result, these people do not have a readily-available financial buffer.

This puts families into a "precarious position", the report's author Professor Susan Smith warned.

"While many would think it strange to invest everything they have into one particular company, to all intents and purposes more than seven million people in England are doing just this by banking on housing," Professor Smith said.

"In fact, they are investing almost everything they have into just one building, in one neighbourhood, in one town, in one region, despite the hindsight of a recent housing market collapse (late 1980s)," she added.

Generally, financial experts advise people to have a spread of investments and savings; including property, shares and deposit accounts.

Some of these investments, such as deposit accounts and shares, should also be accessible in a hurry.

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