I think real estate has been a hedge against high inflation and a weak dollar. It won't collapse, but its gains to the upside are going to be tougher. Pabst brings up a good point about fiat currencies. The government will try to print its way out of any problem. Thats why there are thousands of failed currencies. With the amount of debt outstanding the US is going to print money like never before when asset prices start to drag down growth. We are living through one of the greatest inflation/credit booms ever. For all the talk about the dow and sp, gold has gained amost triple.
getting back to the who actually owns a home question.
I will say this although I could have made money as a lawyer, it was a lot more fun to make it as a trader and then a real estate investor. Unless you have been developing a career and had no time for speculation, if you were on the sidelines for both, I would have to say you better wake up for the next time we have the greatest asset bubble in history -- twice.
disclaimer, I now own only one home. I have about 300 in equity in it and I would prefer to sell it but I have a wife and three kids to think about. I no longer see myself as an R.E. investor, just a home owner.
I'm sure you have dealt with these people and there is nothing uglier than arrogance and I do know the nature of how viscous these forums get.
you say the bankers aren't too blame but then talk about how zero down got us into this, slight contradiction.
I disagree. These products create the demand. Do you think the consumer came up with interest only loans, no down no interest for 12 months, or negative amortization loans? Bankers create these products to manufacture a market.
I'm not saying some don't deserve what they are getting, some do. But there are others that didn't have a clue, were duped, or just saw how big money was being made and jumped on the bandwagon. If you want to fault someone for being uneducated, lacking intelligence, ugly, mentally challenged, etc. go right ahead.
Most people KNOW what house they can and cant afford. If it feels too expensive and a little uncomfortable then it probably is. I have read a ton of articles where homeowners are upside down and just cant figure out what happened. No one forced those people to sign on the dotted line with a loan they didnt understand. It just like trading ...you and you alone are responsible for your actions. People will drive 10 miles out of the way to save a nickle per gallon on gas but jump into a real estate without doing any homework what so ever. I dont wish bad things on people but in almost every case its their own damn fault. jim