I've analyzed a bunch of properties for sale as close to nuts and bolts as possible. I've done the same for recently sold similar condition and configured properties to get idea of cash on cash returns in neighborhoods I'm interested in.  

Mostly between $200-400K. Mostly north or south of the rivers within 20 min no traffic drive time to downtown.  Not looking at distressed nor prime locales.  Everything from near gut rehab to turn key. Most claimed turn keys are rentable but mainly on borrowed time with mechanicals, kitchens etc all aged and due for replacement.

 Using actual owner expenses where available and if not, estimate 50% of gross income towards annual operating expense.  Detailed annual expenses include:  vacancy rates, specific tax rate, 10% for property management, liability insurance, sewer, electric and gas, snow and lawn care.   I leave out mortgage interest etc due to cash buyer.  After adding brokerage, transfer tax, title insurance as well as accounting for any capital expense to replace 20+ year old mechanicals/roofs etc.  I typically end up with 3-4% cash on cash.

I know people are irrational and enamored with home ownership but there's got to be something I'm missing.

Who would bother when you can certainly do better in a REIT and in many cases equivalent in a risk free CD @ 3.3% with click of a mouse?

What are others in the area actually getting/seeing cash on cash for recent purchases without kidding themselves ?