Americans Pick Real Estate as Best Long-Term Investment

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After a horrible collapse in real estate prices over the course of the recession, and a surge back in prices recently, Americans believe it is the best long-term investment among all other means of wealth creation.

According to Gallup researchers:

For the second straight year, more Americans name real estate than stocks, gold, savings accounts/CDs or bonds as the best long-term investment. Real estate leads with 31% of Americans choosing it, followed by stocks/mutual funds, at 25%. Meanwhile, gold dropped to third this year, a significant change from 2011 and 2012, when it was the runaway leader.

Since the price of gold has nosedived, the perception of it as an investment should have eroded significantly. Gold traded at nearly $2,000 in late 2011, but it trades at $1,200 now.

The track of real estate’s attractiveness nearly matches the home price recovery. Gallup experts put its “long-term investment” position at 19% in 2011.

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The presence of stocks high on the list also mirrors a sharp improvement in the value of the major market indexes. The S&P 500 has moved from 1,200 five years ago to 2,100. Gallup researchers point out:

The percentages of Americans choosing real estate and stocks are steady this year compared with 2014. This follows three years, from 2011 to 2014, of increasing partiality toward both investments as the housing and stock markets recovered and gold’s appeal waned. The public’s preference for gold fell five percentage points in the past year, bringing its overall decline since 2011 to 15 points, the largest shift seen among the five investments tracked.

Every point of Gallup’s research can be expected. People’s faith in the value of an asset apparently tracks how that asset has done in the recent past. And the carnage in the real estate and stock markets has only been over for a very few years. Long-term memory does not play much of a role.