Great article by author Michael Lewis of The Blind Side fame regarding the perils of expensive housing. Even a very rich man like Michael Lewis couldn't keep up with renting a landmark mansion in his home town. Mr. Lewis' fun essay also documents the hidden costs of utilities, maintenance and furnishings for a much larger house.
I'm in a phase right now where many of my friends are selling their first or second home and upgrading into McMansion world. It is somewhat surreal for my husband and I to visit our friends/peers who have moved from reasonable rancher to gated community McMansion. Some of them bought during Florida's real estate bubble deflation so they got good deals, but it is still a whole different world. One of my friends, who moved into McMansion world in the last couple of years mentioned that she felt like she had to buy (or lease) a new car to keep up with her new neighbors.
My friends' homes are beautiful and sometimes its hard not to think envious thoughts about those new chef kitchens and especially the walk in closets. But, I have no desire to take on that kind of debt. I did have a refreshing conversation with a college friend recently and she is just a couple of years away from paying off her home in full. Great motivation for me as not having a home mortgage is a goal that is always in the back of my mind.