That's what Robert Shiller's chart above clearly shows. Before the mid-90's, home prices adjusted for inflation had essentially zero appreciation over the prior century. The subsequent decade, as we all know well, became the biggest financial bubble in history.

From the looks of the chart, it seems we still have some work to do on the downside to get back to trend. But this is an important fact for people to understand: over the long term home prices don't do any better than keep pace with inflation. (HT, Clusterstock)