It's definitely something that will vary from person-to-person, no doubt. For me I've just always loved the fact that games with housing give me a specific part of the world, even if instanced, that is 100% my own. I get full control.
While I prefer real world housing (like ArcheAge), I understand the limitations it brings with it. Personally, I think FF14 has one of the best setups with WildStar having the best housing builder. The instanced zones in FF14 create really cool neighborhoods. Sadly, SquareEnix has way to few zones, so all houses are taken on almost every server. With no tax system there's zero way to free up space unless a player gets rid of their house.
I'd much rather have a game where they spend all their time on actual gameplay rather than fluffs, but that's just me. Beside, my perspective came from having played many MMOs, more than half of them have had "housing" system, and none of them came close to be actually anything with Cheap Blade And Soul Gold. FF14 was the only time where I invested some time into my house, but all because it's needed to level/customize my chocobo.
I can see both sides, but I'm also a bit jaded. I play WoW, and outside of raiding... I have nothing to do. If WoW had a housing system or guild housing system, I feel I'd spend more time in-game. Give me bosses that drop decorations. Give me a profession that has to do old content/dungeons to collect resources to craft furniture.
The thing is, Housing can add a lot to a game. It's another form of collecting, similar to Mounts and Pets. WildStar does this amazingly, I just wish other big games did as well. WoW pretty much won't ever touch player housing due to the fail that was Garrisons, so that's out the window.