Heh. I remember the days of flamewars when I was trying to convince people that buying a house was madness when they were sitting on the biggest speculative asset bubble in history. The search doesn’t go back that far but the earliest one I can find is here.
Oh, but I use to take the boards so seriously back then. Tell me, have you guys figured out the Iraq war was a bad idea yet?
Seriously. Any measure of real inflation is by proxy also a measure for the price of housing - everyone needs to buy it in one form or another, and for most households, it is their biggest single expenditure. As Mongo Ponton correctly states, since most residential housing in the developed world is purchased with debt, it adds yet another layer of protection from inflation. The US is somewhat uniquely situated in that mortgages with interest rates fixed for the entire amortization period are readily available to borrowers - even in most developed countries like Canada and the UK, interest rates are only fix-able for 5 years or so. That is, the rest of the world buys houses with what you guys would call ARMs. Lord knows how our economies haven’t collapsed yet.
That’s why, conversely, the cost of housing MUST, in the long run, also track inflation. It has historically been thus, and any extended period of nationwide house price appreciation beyond that of inflation is a sign that housing is overbought.