A home is to live in, it is a forced way of savings, it provides tax breaks (unless Obama gets re-elected) it may go up in value, it may go down in value.
An investment is a property that you rent and understand that there are risks involved ( again not if Obama gets re-elected) in may go up and it may go down in value.
Returns are all based on risk and the cash one puts into a deal.
Ask your buyers agent what property they own in the market.
Real Estate 101: low interest rates high prices, high interest rates low prices
Buy in a community that you want to live in, appreciation is not as important as stability, unless you sell at the right time, ask all those who have been foreclosed on and used their homes as piggy banks.