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Tapping a Flow of Cash From the Credit Cri
cycle, said Michael J. Timmerman, a senior associate at Fishkind & Associates, a financial consulting company based in Orlando, who has been tracking the real estate market in the southeastern United States for 25 years. Last year, by contrast, prices fell 5 to 8 percent, a slide that has continued at the same pace into 2008.

While the midrange market is trying to regain its footing, the wealthy are using the flat market to their advantage. Ms. Gorman said she had a client in the Naples area who took out a $1 million loan on a $2 million condominium he owned outright. What made this attractive was a 10-year interest-only adjustable-rate mortgage with a rate in the low 5 percent range, which is locked in for the first five years.

“Typically our clients do something different every three to four years, so that five-year window is a good window to lock in an interest rate,” she said.

Given the easy credit available to the rich for the homes they own, those who

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