One big problem with real estate is taxes. If you look at many US states, there are very large arrearages on their state pensions. NJ use to have the largest in the US but has since been over taken. A judge ruled in 12/11 that NJ had to not only start to pay down the arrearage but also had to accelerate the pay down. The estimate I read was $5.8B on top of an already stress budget. The worked out to about an 18+% increase next year - 2014.
CA has great farm land but farmers are going bankrupt due to regulations and court orders. Their pension arrearage is ~$500B and climbing because the nitwits decided on a 7.5% rate of return.
The morale of the story be careful what state you buy in - not all states are run by Blue State socialists.
BTW When i bought my house my yearly taxes were $1900 on a 100X150' plot in an old neighborhood (c 1920), when I sold it last year they were over $13,000 per year and guaranteed to climb the max amount every year for over decade to come to help pay for the pension plan.
What out for the Blue State cancer - it spreds like a cancer as the soclialists flee the messes they have created like CA, MI, CT,RI, NH, NJ, NY and flee to low tax Red states like TX.