No one knows what the economy or the stock market will do over the next six months. But when your time horizon is 20 years, the outlook is actually a lot clearer. And right now, all the trends are lining up to make real estate a fantastic long-term buy.
Of course, if you look at recent real estate statistics, the picture is a total catastrophe. Home prices are down by a third, and the decline recently exceeded that of the Great Depression. Across the country, 2 million homes are in foreclosure and another 2 million are more than 90 days behind in their payments. The backlog of foreclosures could last two or three years.
Falling home prices plus the foreclosure backlog probably mean a flat-to-down market over the next couple of years. But beyond the current desolation, the outlook is exactly the opposite. In fact, three different trends are aligning that figure to produce a major home-price boom over the next 20 years.
The real estate market may not quite have bottomed out yet. And the boom I’m talking about will probably take more than a decade to unfold. It also may not apply as directly to real estate stocks. Home builders have more complex problems and real estate investment trusts often depend on commercial properties that are sensitive to business conditions. But the next two or three years should offer exceptional opportunities for buying actual real estate – primary residences and vacation homes – preferably somewhere that’s green.