If you rent instead of own, you’re not only throwing money away, you’re giving something up that’s as good as gold. At least that’s one way to read the results of a new Gallup poll in which confidence in real estate as a long-term investment has rebounded to 25 percent (it was 19 percent in August 2011) just as confidence in gold has dropped to 24 percent.
Gold is most popular with older men, while real estate plays better as a long-term investment bet among upper-income Americans. More specifically:
Real estate has made a comeback in terms of Americans’ perceived best investment, likely in reaction to the course of the real estate market. Back in July 2002 — before Gallup began including gold as one of the options for this question — 50% of Americans said real estate was the best investment, followed by stocks at 18%. By April 2008, shortly after the recession began, the percentage saying real estate was the best investment had dropped to 27%, with savings accounts surging to 29% as the top investment.