I am quickly becoming fond of Visualizing Economics.
If I recall correctly, U.S. house prices beat the CPI by around 1% per annum over the last 50 years when adjusted for the increase in size (something on the order of 1000 s.f. to 2400 s.f. over the period).
Here's the longer view chart from VE, over 120 years you can measure the annualized real return in basis points:
A $10,000 house in 1890 would be worth almost the same in real dollars in 2010 but more than $350,000 in nominal dollars in 2010.