Homeowners learning the unpleasant truth about declining home values, retirement savings and mortgage availability may ultimately take these lessons and apply them to future home purchases, according to market watchers. But a quick look at history shows it’s all part of a housing cycle: The frilly Victorians gave way to more simplified structures of the Jazz Age. Larger, custom homes then turned into Levittown subdivisions, which could be stamped out faster and cheaper.

What will this recession mean for tomorrow’s homes? Some predict consumers to choose smaller, more manageable homes "