Sure the real estate market is in the dump right now, but that doesn't mean that a home isn't a solid investment.
A home may devalue a bit, it needs upkeep and so on. But it'll never 'crash'.
A home is only a solid investment if you're living in it. The real value of a home is in that it gives you something you want and need: a roof over your head in a place you want to live.
But if you're paying a home loan on a second home, it's an investment asset just like any other asset and is just as vulnerable to market fluctuations.
If you can buy property and then have other people pay the mortgage for you, now THAT is a solid investment.
The best thing about this strategy? It can happen slowly and sequentially with minimal risks.
*possibly very very long-term.