I started writing these columns in 1998 because I wanted to present a different view of real estate markets, weaving in sociology, history, regional characteristics, and politics. The concept of owning a home is deeply intertwined in our national ethos and the idea of it goes far beyond simple economics. Property ownership, for example, creates a social marker even as it also provides basic shelter. Overtime, possessing real estate has become the new national pension system. As traditional retirement plans are disappearing, building wealth through home equity has taken on new importance. This change started about the time I began selling real estate and I have enjoyed writing above this cultural change.