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Americans Now View Real Estate as Top Investment

Say goodbye to gold and so long to stocks. Americans today believe real estate is the best long-term investment out there, according to a recent Gallup survey.

Thirty percent of respondents to the firm’s Economy and Personal Finances poll chose real estate as the best investment vehicle, ahead of gold and stocks (24 percent each), savings accounts (14 percent) and bonds (6 percent). Gallup surveyed more than 1,000 people across the country in early April.

Rising home prices and a more favorable housing outlook are at the heart of the findings.

“This year, the housing market has been improving across the U.S., and home prices have recently been rising after a steep drop in 2007 during the subprime mortgage crisis,” wrote Gallup analyst Rebecca Riffkin. “With housing prices improving across the country, Americans are regaining faith that real estate is the best choice for long-term investments.”

Home values in 60 metro areas have exceeded or are expected to exceed pre-recession peaks in the next year, including Dallas, Pittsburgh and San Jose, according to Zillow.

The median sales price of a new home in March hit an all-time high of $290,000, up nearly 13 percent from a year prior.

A separate series of questions from the same Gallup survey highlights the growing optimism Americans have regarding rising home values.

More than half of Americans — 56 percent — expect average home prices in their area to increase, up a third from just two years ago. Nearly three-quarters of homeowners reported their home was worth more than when they purchased it.

A whopping 74 percent of Americans believe now is a good time to buy a house, according to the survey.

“Americans' views of the housing market were clearly shaken during the downturn, but have mostly recovered today, with nearly three in four now saying it is a good time to buy a house,” wrote Gallup analyst Jeffrey M. Jones. “These more positive views of the housing market may help foster a situation in which home buying activity increases and home values continue to rise over the next year.”

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