If a home is purchased only as an investment and not as a residence, a comparison of average annual returns shows that though most homeowners make a positive return, investing in equities offers favorable returns more often than investing in housing.

Two economists at that Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank set out to answer various questions related to the pros and cons in investing in housing.

"We compute that 40 percent of homes owned for less than 13 years have negative average annual returns, compared to 12 percent of homes owned for 13 years or more. Interestingly, while a much greater portion of those owning for 13 or more years obtain positive returns, the average annual return was actually slightly higher for those owning fewer than 13 years (0.95 percent versus 1.03 percent)," the researchers found.