Gallup’s annual survey of investors found that the majority of Americans would choose real estate as their top priority investment. 36% of Americans chose real estate over options like stocks, gold, and cryptocurrency.

Since 2013, real estate has been the undisputed champ in investment for Americans. In the 2024 Gallup survey, folks were bombarded with a smorgasbord of investment choices: real estate, stocks and mutual funds, gold, savings accounts and CDs, bonds, and cryptocurrency. When the dust settled, real estate strutted away with a juicy 36% of the vote. Trailing behind, stocks and mutual funds managed to snag 22%, while gold glimmered with 18%. Savings accounts and CDs lounged comfortably at 13%, bonds hobbled along with a modest 4%, and poor cryptocurrency scraped the bottom of the barrel with a measly 3%. Clearly, Americans have a soft spot for the tangible allure of real estate, leaving other investments in the shadows. Despite stocks traditionally delivering the juiciest returns, it’s no head-scratcher why most folks lean towards real estate. Property is a solid, touchable investment with multiple hats to wear, while stocks float around in the abstract ether.

Nick Foulks, an advisor and director of communications at Great Waters Financial, spoke to CNBC about how and why people choose different types of investments. “If we’re talking about long-term investing, the question is, what is the goal of the end investment?” he said. “Am I trying to produce income? Am I trying to produce wealth? Am I trying to produce security? It’s tough to say what the best long-term investing option is without knowing the desired outcome.”

Foulks contended that while dabbling in stocks and bonds might be more of a surefire wager, everyone’s got their own quirky preferences when it comes to long-haul investing. Real estate might not have the glittering pedigree of stocks, but it’s far from a shabby bet. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which keeps an eagle eye on residential property values, has skyrocketed by a whopping 308% from January 1990 to April 2024. Simply put, home values have done a quadruple somersault over the past three and a half decades. Sure, you could say that bonds have seen an even bigger leap—the S&P 500, which takes the pulse of the broad US stock market, reveals that stock values have skyrocketed by 1,325% over the same period—but real estate investments also give you a place to hang your hat. Depending on one’s particular setup, that might pack a whole lot more oomph than a stockpile of shares.

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According to the Gallup survey, rookie homebuyers and folks keen on amassing wealth had their eyes set on real estate. Gallup sliced and diced the survey results by income, and lo and behold, real estate reigned supreme in each of the three brackets. The lower-income bunch was pegged for those raking in under $40,000 a year. The middle band gathered souls pulling in between $40,000 and $100,000 per annum, while the high rollers consisted of folks making over $100,000 annually. A stout 33% of the lower-tier crowd hitched their fortunes to real estate, 36% of the middle-tier folks cast their lot with it, and a whopping 40% of the upper-echelon tribe anointed real estate as their investment sweetheart.