Despite periods of volatility in the real estate market over the past few years, over seven in ten Americans (72%) see owning a home as a safe investment, according to a new Harris Poll released by PRNewswire.

Majorities agree on this point across generations, albeit with considerable shifts from one generation to the next: nine in ten Matures (89%) see home ownership as a safe investment, compared to just over three-fourths of Baby Boomers (77%) and seven in ten Gen Xers (70%). Even among Millennials – for whom the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 and the ensuing financial crisis it helped kick off is likely a more formative experience – the majority still see home ownership as a safe investment (63%), albeit with a slimmer majority vote than any of their elder counterparts.

Gold and silver seen as safe investment

Americans see owning a home as a safe investmentMajorities of Americans also see gold (65%) and jewelry (59%) as safe investments.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,306 adults surveyed online between July 16 and 21, 2014.

Owing a business or stocks seen as risky investment

Turning to the other end of the scale, eight in ten Americans see owning one’s own business as a risky investment (80%), while two-thirds say the same of stocks/bonds (68%) and luxury or classic cars (67%).

  • Perceived investment risk varies, as one might expect, according to what one has on hand to invest. As such, it should come as little surprise that those with higher investable assets are less likely to see owning a business and investing in stocks/bonds as risky investments than those with less available to invest.
    • Owning your own business – 67% among those with $500,000 or more in investable assets vs. 81% of those with $10,000-$49,999 and 85% for those with under $10,000 to invest.
    • Stocks/bonds – 52% of those with $500,000 or more in investable assets see this as a risky investment, vs. 70% of those with $10,000-$99,999 available to invest and 73% for those with under $10,000 on hand for investments.

Slimmer majorities see wine (60%), investment property ownership (56%) and art (55%) as risky investments, though it’s worth noting that strong minorities do rate each of these as safe (45% art, 44% investment property, 40% wine).

  • The perception of wine as a safe investment varies considerably by generation, with half of Millennials (49%) and four in ten Gen Xers (41%) rating it safe, compared to fewer than a third of Baby Boomers (32%) and Matures (31%).

Which investments are money makers?

When asked which of these types of possible investments have strong earning potential, stocks/bonds (45%), owning an investment property (43%), and gold (42%) are the top selections, with over four in ten seeing each as potentially to be strong money-makers. Roughly a third each see owning a home (36%) and owning a business (32%) as having strong earning potential.

Fewer see investments in art (16%), jewelry (14%), luxury/classic cars (11%) or wine (7%) as having strong earning potential.

  • Generational divides show up again on this measure, with Millennials more likely than any other generation to see strong earning potential for owning one’s own business (39%, vs. 28% Gen Xers, 29% Baby Boomers and 29% Matures) and investing in wine (11% vs. 6%, 5% and 3%, respectively).
  • What one can afford to invest also repeats as a factor in responses.
    • Those with higher investable asset levels are more likely to see strong earning potential in stocks/bonds (71% $500k+ vs. 54% $100k-$499.9k, 44% $50k-$99.9k, 36% $10k-$49.9k, 39% <$10k) and owning an investment property (54% and 52% vs. 37%, 37% and 42%, respectively).
    • Meanwhile, those with less on hand to invest are more likely to see strong earning potential in gold (46% <$10k, 47% $10k-$49.9k, 45% $50k-$99.9k vs. 30% $500k+) and jewelry (19% <$10k, 18% $10k-$49.9k vs. 10% $100k-$499.9k, 9% $500k+) investments.

    Read the full Harris Poll release here.[hs_form id=”4″]

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  • Editorial Staff

    We believe in the positive, life-changing impact of real estate investing. Our mission is to help investors achieve their goals to build wealth, better manage time, and live a life full of purpose.

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