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The main advantage real estate offers to those investing is leverage. Using a small amount of money, or even no money down, in some cases you can buy real estate worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The second advantage is the price appreciation that occurs in real estate, you may doubt this with the events over the last few years, but as a buy and hold investor you look at a 10 year property value appreciation, in which a majority of markets across the United States saw a gain of 10-12% at current market value. A true retirement plan. The third advantage these savvy investors take advantage of is rehabbing a fixer upper, and if acquired properly will put a quick 20-30% of equity in your pocket to start the leverage ball rolling.