Despite uncertain mortgage interest rates and fluctuating property values in some areas, buying a home is still the preferred long-term financial investment for most Americans, according to a recent Bankrate study.

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Takeaways:

  • 27 percent of Americans feel that real estate is a safe place to put money they don’t need for at least a decade.
  • Men were more likely to favor real estate as an investment option, while women were more likely to favor cash investments.
  • Other long-term investment preferences include good, old-fashioned cash (23 percent), the stock market (17 percent), gold and precious metals (14 percent), and bonds (5 percent).

Despite uncertain mortgage interest rates and fluctuating property values in some areas, buying a home is still the preferred long-term financial investment for most Americans, according to a recent Bankrate study.

According to Bankrate’s monthly Financial Security Index, 27 percent of Americans feel that real estate is a safe place to put money they don’t need for at least a decade. This preference for real estate is especially pronounced in the western part of the country, where this was cited nearly 2-to-1 over any other investment option.

Men were more likely to favor real estate as an investment option, while women were more likely to favor cash investments. Real estate also ranked high as a preference for those in the 30 to 49 age category, according to the survey.

Other long-term investment preferences include good, old-fashioned cash (23 percent), the stock market (17 percent), gold and precious metals (14 percent), and bonds (5 percent).

bankrate-security

Millennials had the highest preference for cash among all age groups, and households headed by college graduates were the only group to prefer stocks, Bankrate said.

“Most Americans are still not embracing the stock market for long-term investment horizons,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “Many still fear short-term volatility more than they desire the higher long-term returns.”

In other findings, the survey concluded that Americans continue to feel good about their personal finances despite a diminished confidence in their job.

The index measured 102.1 for the month, a decrease of 2.3 percent from June’s index. Any reading above 100 indicated improved financial security over the past year.

When asked how they felt about their jobs compared to 12 months ago, 22 percent of the survey’s participants said they felt “more secure,” while 14 percent said they felt “less secure.” That was a weaker response than in June, when 29 percent said they felt “more secure” and 9 percent said “less secure.”

Americans are also more pessimistic about their level of savings, the survey found. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they were “less comfortable” with their level of savings compared to a year ago; only 18 percent said they were “more comfortable.”

The survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, was taken earlier this month with 1,000 adults living in the United States.

Email Amy Swinderman.

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