Poll: For Investors, Real Estate Rules

The stock market is surging to record highs, but Americans prefer real estate as their top choice for long-term investment. That’s according to a new Bankrate.com survey, which asked respondents their preferred investment option for money they won't need for more than 10 years. The most popular option was real estate, with 31% listing it as their top choice. Stocks were second at 20%, followed by cash investments (savings accounts, CDs) at 19%, gold or other precious metals at 11%, and all other options in the single digits.

KTRH Money Man Pat Shinn with Heritage Asset Advisors isn't surprised to see real estate top the list, since the real estate market has been doing very well in recent years. But, he warns that real estate can be just as volatile as any other investment. "Real estate is cyclical, so there are going to be ups and downs," he tells KTRH. "But only in hindsight are we really going to know where we are on that curve...are we at the top, are we at the bottom."

Many investors see real estate as a steady long-term growth option, but Shinn cautions that it's not only what you buy and how long you hold onto it, but when you buy. "Real estate plummeted back in 2008 and 2009, but for anyone who bought after that, they've enjoyed a very good return," he says.

Scott Bishop with STA Wealth Management also believes many investors have an overly optimistic view of real estate. "Most people have always said real estate doesn't go down in value, but we've seen real estate go down in value as recently as 2008," he tells KTRH.

The best advice for investors is never put all of your investment eggs in one basket. "I think having a diversified portfolio of investments that can incorporate things like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and different types of things, is good," says Bishop.

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