I'm thinking of the three major consumer purchases that are probably at the base of the hierarchy of needs: Fuel, food, and shelter. Its interesting how very different the media and public perception is of price changes in these areas.
The reaction to fuel price increases is easy to predict - they are always portrayed as bad. Rising prices hurt everyone, producers are evil, and speculators who make bets on rising prices are even more evil.
The reaction to rising food prices is more mixed. That's because we have come to the collective decision that producers of food are sympathetic figures whereas producers of oil are unsympathetic. So media laments about rising food prices are often tempered by good news stories about rising farm profitability.
And then there is shelter. For this category of consumer expenditure, everything is flipped on its head. Rising prices are good, and falling prices are bad. One might argue that housing is different, because consumers often take an equity position in shelter that they do not take in food or fuel. But all this means is that home buyers are speculating on the price of shelter, going long on bets that prices will rise. They could easily just rent, and pay for their shelter month-to-month like they pay for their food or fuel, but many consumers bet on rising rents and shelter prices by buying shelter futures (ie purchasing a home). In a real sense, home buyers are all speculators (using margin accounts at that!), but this is one case where we encourage speculation, and even have tax subsidies for it.
If the reader finds this a funny way to think of home ownership, here is a thought experiment. Let's say at the age of 30 I wanted to take an equity stake in my current and future fuel needs. I take out a loan to buy enough Exxon stock such that the annual dividends will cover my fuel purchases for the year. If fuel prices go up, the dividends likely go up as well, so I am sheltered from the vicissitudes of worrying about my monthly fuel bill, and all I have to do is pay off a regular and predictable mortgage on my Exxon stock. In 30 years, when the note is paid off, likely I have a big capital gain in my Exxon stock, which I could cash in at retirement if I want to downsize to less driving and fuel use. Or I can pass it on to my kids.
The only difference I can come up with, economically, between this example and how we do housing is that in my example, consumer capital is invested in productive enterprises rather than dead real estate.