The Era Of "Investing" In Your House Is Over

The NYT says using a house to fund a comfortable retirement, pay for the education of your children, and send you on a cruise every winter was a purely 20th century phenomenon. And, like that century, the party is now over.

From the NYT:

“There is no iron law that real estate must appreciate,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for the real estate site Zillow. “All those theories advanced during the boom about why housing is special — that more people are choosing to spend more on housing, that more people are moving to the coasts, that we were running out of usable land — didn’t hold up.”

Instead, Mr. Humphries and other economists say, housing values will only keep up with inflation. A home will return the money an owner puts in each month, but will not multiply the investment.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, estimates that it will take 20 years to recoup the $6 trillion of housing wealth that has been lost since 2005. After adjusting for inflation, values will never catch up.

“People shouldn’t look at a home as a way to make money because it won’t,” Mr. Baker said.

Housing Fades as a Means to Build Wealth, Analysts Say [NYT]