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Comparing Real Estate And Precious Metals As Safe Havens During Turbulent Times

By Jamie Richardson | August 8, 2023

When the economy and the stock market get shaky, people often look for safe places to put their money. Two popular options are real estate and precious metals. These things have a history of keeping their value when other investments are struggling.  

According to Oxford Gold Group, precious metals yield higher value and faster liquidity than diamonds, not based on weight, but in terms of rarity, economic conditions, and other relevant factors. On the other hand, rental properties provide a steady income. Let's take a closer look at each to see how they compare as safe choices during uncertain times. 

Real Estate: A Solid Place to Invest 

Real estate has long been revered as a solid investment capable of weathering economic storms. Its physical presence, the potential for rental income, and price appreciation make it an attractive choice. 

Statistics show that 48 percent of renters in the United States are under 30 years old, wherein 38.1 of them are living alone. Many young adults are opting for the flexibility and convenience that renting provides. Moreover, the rise of remote work and gig economy opportunities might influence young adults' decisions to live alone. 

Keeping an eye on the constantly shifting housing rental market gives investors valuable insights when buying a house or listing for a rental home. 

Here are some key points to considering investing in this safe-haven asset: 

Tangible Asset 

Real estate provides a tangible, physical asset that can serve as a shelter during economic downturns. Unlike bonds and stocks, which are intangible, real estate offers a sense of security that comes from owning something tangible. 

Income Generation 

Investment properties can generate rental income, providing a steady cash flow even in challenging economic environments. They act as a buffer against market volatility. Furthermore, real estate allows you to use leverage by borrowing money to purchase properties, potentially amplifying your returns if their values rise. 


Real estate can offer diversification benefits to a portfolio, as its performance is often less correlated with traditional financial assets. This helps mitigate risk and provide stability during market turbulence. 

Potential Appreciation 

Historically, real estate has shown the potential for long-term appreciation, which can vary widely depending on location, market conditions, and other factors. Moreover, this investment offers various tax advantages, including deductions for mortgage interest. 

Precious Metals: A Store of Value 

Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium have been revered as stores of value for centuries. Their inherent scarcity and historical significance give them a unique role in times of economic uncertainty. Here are the key considerations when evaluating precious metals as safe-haven assets: 

Intrinsic Value 

Precious metals are rare and used in industrial applications, jewelry, and even currency. This underlying value can provide a sense of security during turbulent times. Moreover, precious metals are more accessible, especially for those who might not have the capital to use in real estate. 


Precious metals are a preferred choice for investors looking to quickly convert assets. When an emergency arises, you can pawn or sell gold jewelry to have quick cash. 

Local and online bullion dealers and coin shops specialize in buying and selling precious metals. They often provide competitive prices based on current market rates. When selling to a dealer, it's important to compare offers to ensure you're getting a fair deal. 

High-value or unique pieces of precious metals can be sold through auction houses. This method may require more time and effort but could yield higher returns for rare or collectible items. 

Inverse Relationship 

Precious metals often exhibit an inverse relationship with traditional financial assets such as bonds and stocks. When stock markets decline, the demand for precious metals can rise as investors seek safe-haven alternatives. 

Preservation of Wealth 

Throughout history, precious metals have been used as a hedge against inflation. Their value tends to hold up or even increase as time passes by. 

Deciding Which Way to Go  

Real estate investments often require a significant upfront investment, including down payments, closing costs, and potential renovation expenses. This can make it challenging for individuals with limited capital to enter the market.  

On the other hand, precious metals don't generate ongoing income like rental properties or dividend-paying stocks. This can make them less suitable for investors seeking regular cash flow. 

Choosing between real estate and precious metals ultimately depends on investors' preferences, risk tolerance, and investment goals. But both have demonstrated their potential to serve as safe havens during turbulent times. It is a good idea to diversify to be extra safe, talk to experts, and research to ensure you make the right decision. 

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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