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Real estate replaces stocks as America’s favorite long-term investment

Americans have cast aside their painful memories of the 2008 real estate housing market crisis and regained their faith in real estate investing, according to a national survey from Bankrate.

Traditionally, real estate has been viewed as a safe and reliable long-term investment. It not only provides the benefit of a roof, but it also appreciates in value so that the homeowner can walk away with more than they had to start. 

In the years following the 2008 recession, Bankrate’s survey found a shift in preference toward stocks as the country’s favored long-term investment, using ten years as a benchmark for “long-term.”

“Some 31 percent of survey respondents named real estate as their favored investment for money that they wouldn’t need for 10 years or more,” Bankrate’s James Royal wrote. “It’s the best showing for real estate in the seven years that Bankrate has conducted the survey.”

As recently as 2018, stocks held the top spot with 32% of those surveyed. Real was in third, behind cash investments, at 22%. 

In 2019, stocks fell to second with 20% of those surveyed, just ahead of cash investments (savings accounts, CDs, etc.) with 19%. 

Among all age groups surveyed, millennials showed the strongest preference for real estate, with 36% ranking it first. 

“Millennials are higher on real estate than any other age group, have cooled a bit on cash, and still aren’t keen on the stock market when investing for more than ten years,”

Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride

Notably, the survey found that people of all income brackets were about equally committed to real estate investment as their long-term strategy of choice. Stocks were more popular among higher-earning individuals than those with more modest incomes. 

The survey results come at a time when mortgage rates are approaching historic lows, providing a more favorable climate to invest in real estate or refinance currently owned properties. With those trends expected to continue for the foreseeable future, it’s no surprise Americans are more optimistic about real estate investing than they have been in recent memory. 

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