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Yes, property doesn't always go up. There have been numerous countries where that hasn't happened. What tends to be more common is indirect losses whereby the capital values increase but the costs eat into those returns.
Those costs can include:
- Maintenance fees and insurance
- Foreign exchange if you buy overseas
- Even time as indirectly time is money. It takes longer to deal with property than stocks. If you outsource the process to a firm, this can add up to 2% per year to the cost.
I have lost count of the number of expats in particular who have lost money in markets such as Dubai, Jakarta and beyond.