Yes, if you do it right. Never if you do it wrong.
Generally real estate is a great way to grow your wealth with very little risk. What most people do not understand is that real estate is actually not an asset class in its own but a derivative.
A derivative in finance speak is a security which value is determined by another asset. The interesting thing about real estate is that it’s value captures the underlying local economy.
To repeat: real estate is a derivative of the local economy.
So what is the local economy? It is basically number of people times productivity. This means that if you get more people and smarter people the value of real estate rises. The nice thing is that you can capture all of the economic growth in an area with (relatively) little volatility.
As an example if you invested in silicon valley you would have gotten exposure to all the economic growth without needing to buy into all the companies there (of which most go bust).
Generally cities are the world’s most enduring social invention. Kairo is over 3000 years old and ‘survived’ 23 governments. However you probably do not want to own a building there, precisely because of all the political turmoil. Thus I would always recommend to only invest in countries with solid rule of law.
The other thing that you need to know is that (income procuding) real estate has dual returns: capital appreciation and cashflow. Quite often you have to decide on one or the other but real estate allows you to benefit from appreciation of the property (if the local economy (again demographics * productivity) is healthy this should at least be in line with inflation) while you also get regular cashflow which you can use to leverage (which will increase your returns).
One thing to remember though is that real estate is not a passive investment. Every building is an operating business that has to be managed and here you can add or destroy a lot of value. However, real estate is still not as active as a real product company.
There is more to be said but overall I think real estate is one of the best financial products out there. It does not offer a get rich quick theme but it allows you to benefit broadly from the economy and you can use your own smarts to accelerate your wealth creation while not needing to work 120hr weeks for 20+ years.