Need experts on home as an investment

I’m looking for financial advisors, real estate experts and academics with views on how well a home serves as an investment under today’s conditions. Many homeowners were hit hard by the housing collapse in the financial crisis. Was that just a black swan event to be put behind us, or did it show that homes are not the safe and profitable holdings that many had believed they were? What other lessons did that experience teach? Now that home values have recovered, what’s the smartest home owning strategy going forward? Is it safe to assume a home will steadily appreciate, so owners will likely always have a chance to sell if they need to? Is it safe to assume the home will be a substantial asset for funding retirement through a downsizing or reverse mortgage? What has to happen for homes to become the secure asset people once thought they were? Does a mortgage really offer a leveraged return on your down payment, as has often been argued? What factors have to fall into place for a young person or couple to buy a first home today, and how has that changed over the past decade? How long, for instance, should they expect to stay in the first home? Does it make sense to reach for the most expensive home they can afford? What kids of misconceptions or fears are you finding among clients? Do you find, for instance, that people are overly skittish about home buying, or overly confident? Is it true young people are more apprehensive about taking on debt, and more likely to continue renting longer than their predecessors? What else should I be asking? Requirements: I prefer responses by email containing usable content and quotes, and because I usually get so many I almost never respond to ones merely offering a source for interview. Please include the source’s contact info, full name, preferred title in its shortest form, firm and location (which is often hard to find on a website).