Jing Pan

Updated Mon, Jun 10, 2024, 


Buying a house has long been considered an essential part of the American dream, as homeownership can be a symbol of prosperity, stability and success. However, real estate mogul Grant Cardone argues that this notion no longer holds true.

In fact, for young Americans, Cardone believes that the idea of home ownership simply shouldn’t cross their minds right now.

“Anyone under 30 years old should not even consider buying a home at this time,” he wrote in a recent post on X.

Cardone, who once called buying a home “the worst investment people can make,” went on to highlight the heavy financial burden of homeownership.

He wrote that the average home now costs $436,000. He didn’t cite a source for this figure, but the median sale price of houses in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2024 was $420,800, per the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The total annual outlay is $50,000 a year ($4200/mo),” he wrote, explaining that this amount includes interest payments, property taxes, HOA (homeowners association) fees, PMI (private mortgage insurance) and maintenance costs.

As a result, Cardone recommends that young people consider renting instead.

“You can rent for under $2,000 with no long term commitment, down payment & keep your mobility,” he wrote, concluding that “Buying a house is no longer the ‘American dream.’”

Many still find real estate to be an appealing asset class due to its income potential and it being a hedge against inflation and a way to diversify a portfolio.

It’s also a favorite investment asset of Cardone’s, who authored a book titled “How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate.”

And while the cost of homeownership can be substantial, there are now strategies to invest in real estate without purchasing a house for yourself. Here’s a look at three of them.

Invest in publicly-traded REITs

Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are companies that own income-producing real estate like apartment buildings, shopping centers and office towers.

You can think of a REIT as a giant landlord: it owns a large number of properties, collects rent from the tenants and passes at least 90% of its income to shareholders in the form of dividend payments.

It’s easy to invest in REITs because many are publicly traded.

Unlike buying a house — where transactions can take weeks and even months to close — you can buy or sell shares in a REIT any time you want throughout the trading day. That makes REITs one of the most liquid real estate investment options available.

Also, there’s no limit as to how much — or how little — your investment can be. While buying a house usually requires a hefty down payment, you can buy shares in a REIT with as much money as you are willing to spend.

Read more: Rich young Americans have lost confidence in the stock market — and are betting on these assets instead. Get in now for strong long-term tailwinds

Invest on a crowdfunding platform

Crowdfunding has become a buzzword in recent years. It refers to the practice of funding a project by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people.

These days, many crowdfunding investing platforms allow you to own a percentage of physical real estate — from rental properties and commercial buildings to parcels of land. Sponsors of crowdfunded real estate deals and the platforms usually charge fees to investors.

Some crowdfunding platforms are targeted for accredited investors, sometimes with minimum investments that can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. To be an accredited investor, you need to have a net worth of over $1 million or an earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the past two years.

If you’re not an accredited investor, some platforms let you invest small sums if you like — even $100.

Such platforms make real estate investing more accessible to the general public by simplifying the process and lowering the barriers to entry.

However, retail investors should educate themselves about the drawbacks, like liquidity constraints and no guaranteed income, before investing any money.

Invest in ETFs

Picking the right REIT or crowdfunded deal requires plenty of due diligence on your part. If you’re looking for an easier, more diversified way to invest in real estate, consider exchange-traded funds.

You can think of an ETF as a portfolio of stocks. And as the name suggests, ETFs trade on major exchanges, making them convenient to buy and sell.

Investors use ETFs to gain access to a diversified portfolio. You don’t need to worry about which stocks to buy and sell. Some ETFs passively track an index, while others are actively managed. They all charge a fee — referred to as the management expense ratio — in exchange for managing the fund.

There are many ETFs that focus on real estate. Options such as the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ) and the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLRE) could provide a starting point for further research.

(EDITOR’s NOTE: There were over 300 comments posted on this article which present an interesting look at the various attitudes of the different generations.  Read the comments.)