Is it a good time to invest in real estate?

Great question. It reminds me of the line by Lucy in the Charlie Brown Christmas special. She complains about how she always gets stupid toys or a bicycle when all she wants is real estate.

Seriously though, buying real estate — either actual properties or publicly traded stocks that own houses, apartments or commercial buildings — may make sense as a way to diversify your portfolio.

Housing prices historically are a great long-term investment even though they could fluctuate wildly in the short-term depending on the state of the economy.

But with the Federal Reserve likely to keep interest rates on hold for the rest of the year, mortgages should remain fairly affordable for the foreseeable future. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.17%, according to Freddie Mac.

So where should you begin if you are looking at real estate as an investment and not just a place to live?

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