Real estate is land and the buildings on it, along with natural resources like growing

crops or minerals, water and wild animals. It includes the right to occupy or use the

property, as well as an interest in that property—including the ability to sell it.

The real estate industry is a significant contributor to the economy. It encompasses

numerous components, from residential homes to commercial office spaces. It also

involves the individuals or entities that facilitate transfers of ownership—real estate

agents, attorneys, mortgage lenders and developers.


A variety of factors drive real estate trends, including a supply shortage, an increase

in demand for single-family homes and the influence of foreign investors. In the near

future, some experts believe that more Americans will move to “middle

neighborhoods,” which offer the convenience of a suburban lifestyle but with less

expensive home prices and good public transportation connections.


As a direct investment, real estate can be rented for income or bought and sold to

make a profit. The most common form of this is homeownership, which offers a

secure and relatively stable return on investment, compared to other asset classes.

Other direct investments include speculative purchases of properties that are

intended to be sold after a period of time for a higher price, known as “flipping,” or

the purchase of property for the purpose of renting it out. As with all investments,

there is no guarantee of a positive return. Read more


Commercial real estate is a type of property that is used for business purposes,

including office space, hospitals, malls and hotels. Industrial real estate is a subset

of commercial property, and includes sites for manufacturing, distribution and

warehousing. Land is another category of real estate, and includes undeveloped or

vacant land as well as agricultural lands like farms and orchards.


There are many different types of real estate, and each has its own unique

advantages and risks. Investors should familiarize themselves with the specific

characteristics of each type of real estate before making a purchase.


The market for New York real estate is highly diverse, spanning the city’s five

boroughs and their own individual markets. Manhattan’s is robust, with areas like

Williamsburg and Park Slope enjoying a lively urban vibe. Brooklyn and Staten

Island, on the other hand, are more suburban in nature but still draw interest from

those priced out of Manhattan.


The broader market for real estate is made up of the residential, commercial and

industrial sectors. These segments are further broken down into smaller categories,

such as apartment complexes, stores and restaurants. The real estate sector

contributes to the economy in several ways, ranging from job creation and business

opportunities to providing shelter for families and entrepreneurs. It is also a key

indicator of economic health and trends. The National Association of Realtors reports

on a number of economic indicators related to real estate, such as new housing

starts, which provide a snapshot of the industry and can help gauge overall

economic health.