This graph is shocking — from 1890 to 1980, residential real estate in the US did not increase in value after accounting for inflation. Not to say that some investments didn’t pay off, but as an asset class, residential real estate was a bad investment.
The chart and some other great myth-busting info and links can be found at I Will Teach You to Be Rich, a blog with a really unique take on personal finance.
For me, this is a great reminder that common knowledge is often horribly inaccurate. I am particularly bad about carrying this kind of misinformation around for years — I need to constantly remind myself that much of what I “know” may be wrong.