Here's the scary part: There's no rule that housing has to appreciate

We’re all waiting for housing values to start to rise again. Right? I know I am: I’m underwater on my home, owing more on my mortgage loan than what my house is worth. I’d love for this to change.

But what if it doesn’t?

That’s the question that a recent New York Times story ponders. The story quotes several economic experts who predict that housing will never again generate the kind of wealth that it did in the second half of the 20th Century.

These experts do say that the housing market will recover from its current doldrums. That’s the good news. The bad news? These same experts say that the days of counting on real estate to fund our retirements, pay for our children’s college education and keeping the economy booming might be long gone.

This means that if you’re underwater by a significant amount of money, you might not see this change for years.

It makes me envious of my friends in a neighboring suburb. They just finished paying off their mortgage loan. Now they’re free: They can sell if they want or they can stay put. And they don’t have to worry about making loan payments on a home that’s worth less than what they owe on it.

After reading the New York Times story, there was one comment that I haven’t been able to shake: There is no rule stating that housing has to appreciate.

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