The Australian addiction to property investment is at least partly fuelled by the belief that while growth rates may vary, the value of a house will never go down. However, as economist Nigel Stapledon points out, while this may have been true since the mid-1960s, there have been points in history where the value of houses in Australia have declined, and current economic woes have seen property prices plummet overseas:
Of course that does not necessarily mean Australian house prices will fall now, but there is no law of nature that says they cannot fall.
None of that's an argument against owning (as opposed) to renting your own house, but it's something to bear in mind if you're thinking about a longer-term investment strategy.
Debunking housing myths [Herald Sun]