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Should you Invest in Property or Shares?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shares or property?

Ahh, that old chestnut…  It’s a question that is often asked.  What performs better?  Shares or property?

On a capital appreciation measure over the past decade, the past half-decade, and over the past three years, residential property has well and truly outperformed shares.  Over the most recent 12-month period shares have outperformed the housing market.

It’s important to note that the share market has shown periods where capital gains have been substantially higher than what has been achieved in the housing market.   As can be seen in the ‘rolling annual change’ graph below, the annual growth rate in the ASX 200 has been has high as 39% over a 12-month period (the year ending February 2010); share prices have also fallen by more than 40% in the space of a year, which is what happened during the GFC (the ASX 200 fell by 42.7% over the year ending November 2008).

Capital city dwelling values haven’t shown anywhere near the same level of volatility.  The largest rise over any 12-month period, based on the RP Data-Rismark eight city aggregate index, was 21% over the year to May 2002, and the biggest fall was recorded just recently when dwelling values fell 5.3% over the year to May 2012.

While the volatility of the share markets may appeal to some, it is the stability and resilience of residential housing that is likely to be one of the key reasons why investing in the housing market is a popular choice for mum and dad investors.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Tim Lawless is national research director of RP Data.

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