“Better the cottage where one is merry than the palace where one weeps.” (Chinese Proverb) from one of my favorite blogs Jack's Winning Words
I suppose that the proverb might fit better were it worded "Better to live in a 1,000 Sq Ft ranch that is paid off than a 5,000 Sq Ft McMansion with a super-jumbo mortgage". That woud be especially true for those in this area who bought the McMansion at the peak of our local real estate bubble (about 2006, here). Those folks are weeping now because they are trapped in homes that are so far underwater that they can be sold, can't be re-mortgaged, can't be escaped.
Interestingly enough, many of these same people have been very successful at getting their assessments for property taxes lowered. So now the assessor says that their homes are worth 40+% less than when they bought. An appraiser woudl likely agree, if they tried to sell. It's only in bravado cocktail discussions or talks with their banker where the "value" is still up at the level that they paid.
For the foreseeable future there wil lbe weeping and gnashing of teeth.