Real estate is all about asymmetric risk and reward. When the government gives you subsidies in the form of mortgage interest tax deductions and bails out overextended homeowners over and over again, you’d be silly not to invest in real estate! When you can invest lots of other people’s money and not have to split the proceeds if you make a killing, that’s a wonderful thing!
There’s a reason why every rich person you know owns multiple properties. There’s a reason why enormous fortunes have been made through real estate as well. How can Donald Trump still be a billionaire after declaring bankruptcy? Asymmetric risk and reward!
It’s no wonder property owners were once called lords, or now more colloquially, landlords. The wealthy own assets, while the not-so-wealthy lease assets. After 30 years of paying $2,000 a month in rent, your return on $720,000 is negative 100%. At least through a mortgage you’ve got an asset which you can live in rent free or pass on to your children once paid off. You might not make money as the downturn has certainly shown, but at least you have a chance.
When it comes to making money, if there is no risk, there is very little reward. After a lifetime of working, not owning might be one of the biggest risks of all!