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Do you want to invest in real estate, but don’t want the headache of renting, flipping, or maintenance?  Consider Real Estate ETFs instead.  You can often get several undred shares for less than a down payment on a piece of property.

Historically Real Estate ETFs have been a trusted way to invest in real estate without the worry of maintaining the property and they usually do not coincide with the fall of the stock market.  After the real estate crash many investors pulled out of ETFs, but now they are doing much better and could be an excellent place to put your money.

Real Estate ETFs to Consider if the Recovery Continues in 2010

The year 2009 brought a stellar rebound to US equity markets, with all the major sectors gaining ground. The most impressive returns happened in areas hardest hit during the late-2008 meltdown: Materials and Consumer Discretionary. However, the biggest sector winner by far was Technology with (as of December 24) a nearly 50% bounce from the end of 2008.

Another sector that jumped, especially since March, was Real Estate. Many investors still view real estate cautiously. Just a year ago real estate-related derivatives nearly collapsed financial markets around the world. Disaster was delayed only with massive purchases of mortgage-backed securities by governments and central banks.

Real estate values vary greatly by region. While Detroit will probably not recover for many years, Texas real estate has been relatively steady even during the recession. According to the US Census, Texas is still the fastest growing state in the country. However, the strongest region is the Midwest, where the National Association of Realtors reported a seasonally-adjusted 53.5% year-to-date increase in existing home sales. In addition, the Midwest reported the lowest decline in sales price compared to the other major regions this year. Existing home sales in November across the country were up 44.1% since the same month last year. Granted, NAR numbers are industry-biased, but they do report a trend that is hard to deny.

Both commercial and residential real estate have been emerging from a slump this year. If the recovery continues, we expect real estate to do well in 2010. We have highlighted three ETFs to consider if that happens. Bear in mind, these ETFs are heavily weighted in commercial real estate. If you’re looking to go long in the residential real estate market, you might want to call a Realtor.    –more

The Definitive Guide To Real Estate ETFs: Real Estate ETF Investing 101

Once considered a vital “return enhancer” in almost every portfolio, real estate as an asset class has fallen out of favor with investors following its spectacular collapse during (and role in causing) the recent global economic downturn. Real estate was historically embraced because of its potential for delivering excess returns in bull property markets and low correlation with traditional stock and bond investments. But as default rates skyrocketed, values plummeted, and correlations went to 1.0, asset managers have sold off real property and reallocated investor portfolios to equities and fixed income.

Despite its fall from grace, real estate is beginning to creep back into portfolios, as investors regain their appetite for risky assets (we include a small allocation to real estate in several of our All-ETF Model Portfolios ). Real estate ETFs have seen cash inflows of more than $3 billion year-to-date, reflecting perhaps a preference for achieving diversified exposure within this asset class instead of concentrating assets in a few REITs. For investors looking to make a play on real estate through ETFs, there are several options offering different levels of risk, current income, and exposure to sectors of the market.

Overview Of Real Estate ETFs

Real estate ETFs generally invest in real estate investment trusts (”REITs”), a tax designation for companies investing in real estate that may provide desirable tax benefits. REITs must distribute at least 90% of their income to investors, and offer an efficient way for investors to gain indirect exposure to real estate prices (as opposed to direct exposure gained through ownership of a residential property).    –more

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