Buying houses is expensive these days, and interest on mortgages is extortionate. Do investments via the stock market exist where you can invest in the housing market? Maybe shares in real properties, or maybe some physically backed funds, or something along those lines?
You could look into an index fund or ETF that invests primarily in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT's). An REIT is
any corporation, trust or association that acts as an investment agent specializing in real estate and real estate mortgages
Many investment firms offer an index fund or ETF like this. For example, Vanguard and Fidelity have funds that invest primarily in real estate markets. You could also invest in a home construction ETF, like iShares' ITB, which invests in companies related to home construction. This ETF includes more companies than just REITs, so for example, Home Depot is included.
Have you considered a self-directed IRA to invest, rather than the stock market or publicly traded assets? Your IRA can actually own direct title to real estate, loan money via secured or unsecured promissory notes much like a hard money loan or invest into shares of an entity that invests in real estate. The only nuance is that the IRA holder is responsible for finding and deciding upon the investment vehicle. Just an option outside of the normal parameters, if you have an existing IRA or old 401(k) or other qualified plan, this might be an option for you.