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4 Funds Building a Position in Housing Recovery in 2019

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A series of dismal reports about America’s housing industry have been released recently. This has led to speculation that the space is headed for yet another bubble. However, business friendly policies and increased demand fueled by higher wages and a robust job market is likely to boost the sector.

Moreover, the hiring boom in construction sheds light on the fact that such impediments would not last long. Under such circumstances, investing in real estate mutual funds seems prudent.

Opportunity Zones to Provide a Major Boost to U.S. Housing in 2019

Opportunity Zones, which were created as a part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Job Act, would go a long way in boosting the real estate market this year. As part of the arrangement, every U.S. governor earmarked 25% of the low to moderate-income areas in their respective states. Such areas would then be converted to places where instead of paying capital gains taxes to the IRS, the amount would be deferred, reduced or eliminated as a whole.

Notably, it is the most beneficial program for economic development in the United States in the past 10 years. Further, taxpayers would be required to defer their capital gains for seven years prior to 2026, in order to reap the benefits of such an arrangement.

Fears of a 2008 Type Bubble is Just Speculation

During the last economic crisis about 10 years ago, markets were overheated by a glut of new houses. Further, subprime mortgage financing weighed heavily on the markets, resulting in a bump in speculative inventory. Taking a closer look at the current scenario, the housing industry is actually reeling under the pressure of extreme paucity of skilled labor amid rising prices of materials.

Rising wages and a higher number of job openings have resulted in increased demand for land ownership in the metropolitan areas of the country. These areas have witnessed a surge in housing demand, north of 3% on average annual basis.

Further, growth in population has also resulted in increased migration toward the metros. This trend is prevalent among millennials and baby boomers, who are earning well and moving to bigger cities in pursuit of better lives. Such a trend has kept housing demand steady in these areas.

New Home Sales Hits 8 Month High

Sales of newly constructed single-family homes, accounting for roughly 10% of all U.S. home sales, soared16.9% in November from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000 units, per data released on Jan 31 by the Commerce Department. The November figure was well above the consensus forecast of 569,000. Additionally, median sales prices in November fell 7% to $302,400, the lowest since February 2017. Average prices also fell 8.4% to $362,400.

4 Best Choices

Given such circumstances, we have highlighted four real estate mutual funds that are poised to gain from such factors. These funds also carry a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Moreover, these funds have encouraging three and five-year returns. Additionally, the minimum initial investment is within $5000.

We expect these funds to outperform their peers in the future. Remember, the goal of the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is to guide investors to identify potential winners and losers. Unlike most of the fund-rating systems, the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is not just focused on past performance, but also on the likely future success of the fund.

The question here is: why should investors consider mutual funds? Reduced transaction costs and diversification of portfolio without several commission charges that are associated with stock purchases are primarily why one should be parking money in mutual funds (read more: Mutual Funds: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How They Make Investors Money).

Fidelity Series Real Estate Income Fund (FSREX - Free Report) seeks appreciation of income and capital. FSREX invests the majority of its assets in preferred and common stocks of companies involved in the real estate sector. FSREX invests heavily in real estate investment trusts (REITs) as well as in mortgage-backed securities and debt securities of real estate entities.

This Sector – Real Estate product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and five-year benchmarks are 7.3% and 6.3%, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other #1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.

FSREX has an annual expense ratio of 0.00%, which is below the category average of 1.23%.

Fidelity Advisor Real Estate Income A (FRINX - Free Report) invests heavily in debt and mortgage-backed securities of real estate companies, and preferred and common stocks of REITs. FRINX invests a bulk of its assets in securities of real estate companies and other real estate related investments.

This Sector – Real Estate product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and five-year benchmarks are 7.8% and 6.5%, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other #1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.

FRINX has an annual expense ratio of 1.01%, which is below the category average of 1.23%.

DFA Real Estate Securities Portfolio Institutional Class (DFREX - Free Report) invests in marketable equity securities of companies engaged in ownership, management, development, construction and sale of residential, commercial as well as industrial real estate. DFREX normally invests in equity securities of companies in certain real estate investment trusts as well as companies involved in residential construction.

This Sector – Real Estate product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and five-year benchmarks are 8.6% and 9.9%, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other #1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.

DFREX has an annual expense ratio of 0.18%, which is below the category average of 1.23%.

John Hancock II Real Estate Securities 1 (JIREX - Free Report) seeks appreciation of capital and income over the long term. JIREX invests primarily in equity securities of companies engaged in operations related to the real estate sector, which includes REITs. The fund invests in securities including common stock, preferred stock and convertible securities. It may invest a maximum of 10% of its assets in securities of companies domiciled outside the U.S. territory.

This Sector – Real Estate product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and five-year benchmarks are 7.8% and 9.6%, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other #1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.

JIREX has an annual expense ratio of 0.80%, which is below the category average of 1.23%.

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