Property owners in London and the south might be sitting pretty with homes earning more than the national salary in a single year.
But there are plenty of places in the UK where a bricks and mortar investment at the start of the century would have been a bad punt.
Office of National Statistics data, analysed by Emoov, has unearthed the worst places to have bought a property this century - including one local authority where the average value has actually fallen in the last 16 years.
Bolton city centre is the only location among 7,207 local authorities in England and Wales where the average house price has fallen - from £77,202 to £70,621, having peaked at £105,608 in the first quarter of 2008.
While houses in this area started out around £8,000 below the UK average, they are now more than £185,000 lower.
And low demand means that trend is unlikely to change: currently demand for the city as a whole is at 28 per cent, 13 percentage points lower than the national average, Emoov estimates.
While house prices across Birmingham have at least risen, the West Midlands city makes two appearances on the list of shame.
Emoov chief executive Russell Quirk said: "Generally getting on the ladder is the safest investment one can make in England and Wales and it would seem that anywhere other than this particular area of Bolton, would have at least seen some sort of return on that investment.
"You have to feel for those that have seen the value of their property drop in Bolton, it’s almost the equivalent of everyone in the UK buying a lottery ticket and you being the only one that doesn’t hit the jackpot.”