Experts: Investing in Real Estate Can Hedge Against Inflation

Published by | January 16, 2024

Here’s how to know if this type of investment is right for you, and how to get started.

For some, investing in real estate can translate to thousands of dollars in additional income each year. And experts say that in today’s inflationary environment, doing so could prove to be a strategic move.

“A real estate investment provides a hedge against inflation if rents keep pace with, or outpace, the rate of inflation,” says Derek Graham, principal and founder of Odyssey Properties Group. “Property types such as multifamily (apartment buildings) that are able to adjust rents more rapidly tend to be the most inflation-resistant.” He adds that the typical lease term on an apartment is 12 months, after which point the rent amount can be readjusted to reflect the current market.

In fact, about 70% of rental properties in the U.S. are owned by individual investors, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). But even if you’re not looking to add “landlord duties” to your list of responsibilities, there are other ways to buy into real estate and generate investment income.

Here’s how to know if this type of investment is right for you, and how to get started.

Pros and cons of investing in real estate

If you’re thinking about investing in real estate, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully and ensure this type of investment fits your lifestyle and financial goals.

There are a number of benefits to investing in real estate:

It can provide an additional stream of income. Putting your money toward a rental property (or even renting a room in your home or a portion of your property) can help you earn enough money to cover the cost of that property, and even pad your monthly income. “Whether it’s a single-family home, a shopping center, an industrial warehouse, or a myriad of other real estate assets, individuals can generate a steady stream of cash flow from the rental income of their real estate investments,” says Graham. “The level of income generated is dependent on both the location and type of real estate asset.”  

Investing in real estate can help diversify your investment portfolio. Graham notes that real estate investments generally have a low correlation to the stock market, so you can use them to hedge against losses during market downturns. Having a diverse mix of assets in your portfolio also spreads your risk out across asset types, meaning you’ll have a higher chance of coming out on top when some of your other assets aren’t doing as well.

Real estate investments may reduce your tax bill. Another perk of real estate investing is potential savings during tax time. “Some of the most common benefits include deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes,” says Graham. You may also be able to lower your annual taxable income through depreciation, he says. “Lastly, the 1031 exchange allows investors to defer capital gains taxes by using the sales proceeds from one property to purchase another ‘like-kind’ property.”

Despite these benefits, there are some drawbacks you should carefully consider:

Real estate investments can be more involved than other asset classes. Unlike the money you invest in stocks or bonds and monitor from time to time, your real estate investments may require more time and attention. “Real estate investments typically require significant upfront capital and are burdened by additional and ongoing operational and maintenance expenses,” says Graham. “Owning and managing a property can be time-consuming and require a lot of effort, especially if you have multiple properties.”

Your money could be tied up. Real estate is considered an illiquid investment because in order to access your money, you have to go through the process of selling your property, which can take a considerable amount of time. However, you can get around this challenge by investing in real estate funds instead.

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