Many people favor real estate as their investment tool for it's relatively low risk and high rates of return. The reason for these trends is that real estate makes you money six different ways- equity capture, tax advantage, cash flow, forced appreciation, market appreciation, and principle pay down. While other forms of investing may fall into one or two of these categories, real estate is unique in its power to build wealth and protect itself from market fluctuations.
For people who are investing with the goal of financial freedom, cash flow is by far the most important of the six ways. Savvy real estate investors learn never to touch a property that has negative cash flow, no matter what they expect to gain by appreciation. Cash flow in real estate comes as the rent you receive from a property minus any expenses associated with owning it. While it may end up amounting to only $200, you'll find that this extra income means a lot when it comes with the security of knowing it will always be there (unlike your job, or appreciation on speculative investments). Equity capture is another crucial element of investing in real estate. While investors know never to buy a property with negative cash flow, they also know never to buy a property without a significant discount just because they expect it to go up in value.