Poll Finds Homeownership Trumps Gold, Stocks, and Savings Accounts

Although the real estate crisis might have broken some homeowners’ hearts, many folks are ready to start dating again, according to two Gallup polls.

One poll shows Americans again believe real estate is the best long-term investment, better even than gold, stocks, bonds, and savings accounts.

High-income consumers are the biggest believers in homeownership as an investment — 38% of people who make $75,000 or more think real estate is the best long-term investment.

Lower-income consumers, those households earning less than $30,000 per year, believe gold is a better investment than homeownership.

Gallup poll data

It’s a Good Time to Buy

A second Gallup poll found that nearly three in four Americans say now’s the time to buy, an attitude that could increase homebuying activity and home values over the next year.

And the expectation that home prices will rise is further fueling the buy-now belief. Back in 2011, only 21% of Americans expected home prices to rise. Today, 56% of those Gallup polled expect local home prices to increase.

Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, it’s clear that the scant 21% of people in 2011 who thought prices would rise were right. The median U.S. home price rose from $166,100 in 2011 to $197,000 by 2013.

The take-home from the Gallup poll? Most people can’t predict the future of the housing market any more than they can predict where the stock market and the gold market are headed.

Fortunately, most of us buy our home because we want to put down roots. But we also see buying as an investment. We know once we pay off the mortgage we’ll have a free-and-clear home to live in during retirement and wealth to pass along to our heirs. Rising and falling home prices over a few years don’t matter so much if you’re investing for the long run.

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