This chart from MSN.Money.com from Brian Block's Active Rain post says it all. It very simply shows how important it is to look at real estate as a long term investment, while Brian also reminds us that specific situations and timing may produce significantly different returns. It is very easy to focus on current issues that put real estate investment in a negative light in many cases. However, this chart suggests that the focus needs to be much broader, always looking at the big picture.
It's very rare or more likely never that I've posted a picture or chart without much explanation. However, this chart showing the return on investment over the last decade requires very little commentary. Granted... depending upon your timing, your return may be significantly different. However, the chart does make its point.
Please note: Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.