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Buying houses is expensive these days, and interest on mortgages is extortionate. Do investments via the stock market exist where you can invest in the housing market? Maybe shares in real properties, or maybe some physically backed funds, or something along those lines?

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You could look into an index fund or ETF that invests primarily in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT's). An REIT is

any corporation, trust or association that acts as an investment agent specializing in real estate and real estate mortgages

Many investment firms offer an index fund or ETF like this. For example, Vanguard and Fidelity have funds that invest primarily in real estate markets. You could also invest in a home construction ETF, like iShares' ITB, which invests in companies related to home construction. This ETF includes more companies than just REITs, so for example, Home Depot is included.

  • There is also what is called Listed Property Trusts (LPT), which are basically mutual funds invested in property trusts which are listed on a stock exchange. – Victor Apr 14 '13 at 21:18
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    @Victor Since 2008, LPT's are now known as REIT's as well (technically A-REIT's). – John Bensin Apr 14 '13 at 21:27
  • I just checked in Australia and you are correct John. I don't really invest in them so I wasn't aware they were both the same thing. Thanks for the correction :-) – Victor Apr 14 '13 at 21:35
  • Post Properties (NYSE:PPS) is landlord to about 20,000 middle class renters/families across Atlanta, Dallas, Washington DC, and Tampa. postproperties.com/post/investor/home.aspx – Paul Jul 10 '13 at 3:33
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Have you considered a self-directed IRA to invest, rather than the stock market or publicly traded assets? Your IRA can actually own direct title to real estate, loan money via secured or unsecured promissory notes much like a hard money loan or invest into shares of an entity that invests in real estate. The only nuance is that the IRA holder is responsible for finding and deciding upon the investment vehicle. Just an option outside of the normal parameters, if you have an existing IRA or old 401(k) or other qualified plan, this might be an option for you.

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