Stocks roll up large margins of victory in performance, costs, diversification and effort you need to expend as an investor.
Real estate's only big win is in leverage. Using that leverage to buy a home you can afford makes sense. You're building equity and collecting other benefits as well. (And no landlord can stop you from owning a big, hairy dog or throwing a party for 200 of your noisiest friends.)
But jumping into the real estate ring thinking you'll use others' money to score an investing knockout is plenty risky. And the big prize, as you may have noticed if you've tried to flip a condo lately, is more elusive than it might have seemed.