Nav Athwal

Many Americans in dark on top performing investments: RealtyShares survey

Many Americans cannot name the best performing investment among stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate and cash equivalents such as oil, gold, and cotton, results of an online survey of more than 2,000 adults by online real estate marketplace RealtyShares show. It was conducted by Harris Poll in March.

Forty per cent had no idea, while 25 per cent said stocks and 16 per cent real estate. Since 2000, real estate results (10.71 per cent annually) have essentially doubled stocks (5.43 per cent) with the S&P, though the latter has been superior since 2010 (12.65 per cent vs. 11.37).

“Real estate returns have kept pace with or even exceeded certain investment options in the past, and yet 85 per cent of Americans aren’t taking advantage of investing in this asset class,” RealtyShares CEO Nav Athwal said. “Risks are inherent with all investments, so diversification is important for any investor’s portfolio.

“That the majority of Americans haven’t tapped into real estate can speak to the lack of access that has been inherent in the industry for a long time.”

The survey also revealed 48 per cent of Americans (63 per cent of millennials) would be more more likely to invest in real estate if there was technology available to make the process easier.

The real estate entry point is often home flipping, which 68 per cent of women and 64 per cent of men believe is a good way to make money. More men, 44 percent versus 31 per cent believe they could actually complete one.

“Residential real estate as an asset class is a $29 trillion market, and the commercial sector adds another $10 trillion,” Mr. Athwal said. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen an application of technology to real estate to make it easier for homebuyers to research properties, and open up real estate investing to a much wider audience.

“The next wave of tech companies, such as RealtyShares, has the potential to fundamentally alter the way in which we transact within this industry — making it easier for someone to raise capital, get a loan or efficiently put that capital to work as part of a larger investment portfolio. Our vision is to continue closing the gap between the way people invest in the stock market and the real estate market.”