We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Schiller of Schiller and Chase argues that primary homes are not an investment either. They are consumables like cars and beer.
Going back to 1890, with a few ups and downs, home prices parallel inflation. So, if you paid cash up front, then in the long run corrected for inflation your investment would remain constant, no appreciation. But that assume that you make the usual repairs. In the long run, that includes a new roof and heating/cooling system every once in a while, maintenance and remodeling. So, you are continually spending just to maintain the invested value.
The upshot is that you lose money on a house. If you finance it, your loses are even greater.
A house is a life-style choice. In particular, it allows you to have some control over who your neighbors are, at least as regards to socio-economic class. It also allows you some privacy and space.
Agree with Bob. Personal housing is a consumption item and we can see the result of fedgov promoting the ownership of housing through "special" financing and mandated financing. They could have as easily mandated auto loans, furniture loans or even health care financing....oppps, they did that too didn't they. How's that working out. And the radical Marxists complain that free markets are destroying America. Too many doobies and so little time but at least its becoming a free market in doobies.
When my friends got to an age where they could afford a 2nd home, I instead bought a rental property. It has modestly sized apartments instead of a detached house that has to satisfy both the owner and the tenant. It is plaster and hardwood, not carpet that has to be maintained. And it is in, and fits with, its apartment rental market. I then take that rent and use it for a condo or Four Seasons of my choice, in any vacation market I choose. Life-style is the most expensive thing you can buy. Like all luxuries, it is best bought with cash.