There’s an interesting study from several years ago that looked at the returns of some major asset classes over the past 150 years (where there is data).
One of the main takeaways from the study was that higher risk does not equal higher return, as housing showed slightly better overall returns with less volatility than equities.
The standard deviation was 10% from housing and 22% for equities.
The interesting thing is that bonds had similar volatility to housing yet much less returns.
Why did housing and equities perform the best? Because both are cash flow generating assets, not only appreciating in price, but also paying rent and dividends.