"Averaging in" is a common way to buy stocks over the course of time and it allows investors different enrty points on portions of their stock portfolio, thus averaging ththe different price points on a selected group of stocks or funds. In the real estate market, that is a much more difficult undertaking unless you have multiple homes or the luxury to "play the market" in buying your next home. Returns in both markets over the long term average approx. 8% plus or minus and there is more risk currently in the real estate market -- please see November Fortune Magazine article that measures the relationship between rents and home prices. To sum it up: the balanced portfolio that includes some real estate and other hard assets combined with financial assets like stocks, bonds and cash equivalents will always be the best strategy to pursue. Balance counts.