real estate


Definition of real estate 

1 : property in buildings and land

2 : space, capacity her desktop real estate the limited real estate on hard drives— Leonard Wiener

Examples of real estate in a Sentence

She works in real estate. the enormous difference in real estate between a high-definition disk and one in standard definition

Recent Examples on the Web

Adapt and survive Economic forces beyond real estate also present challenges to small meatpackers. Ryan Ori,, "In exodus from Fulton Market, surviving meatpackers scatter and adapt," 13 July 2018 San Francisco has gone in a different direction, with policies that have largely helped tech and increased taxes on other industries like real estate, according to city data. Roland Li,, "As Silicon Valley looks to tax tech, San Francisco has lightened its load," 2 July 2018 The simpler lithographic prints, less ostentatious, tend to be more charming; but, either way, making portraits of real estate somehow seems a very California thing to do. Christopher Knight,, "Grafton Tyler Brown's California scenes at Pasadena museum's final show," 30 June 2018 School Board member Donna Korn, who works in commercial real estate, said the normal time for an architect to work on plans is about eight weeks, including any revisions that need to be made. Scott Travis,, "School district told to level with taxpayers about bond projects," 30 June 2018 In the meantime, Hardaway said Merrillville town officials are waiting patiently to see what the future holds for that prime corner of real estate. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "Iconic Star-Plaza Theatre demolition begins in Merrillville," 26 June 2018 Also attending was Brian Coleman, senior contract manager for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s office of real estate. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Former Blue Island boarding school now a live-in recovery center for addicts with clinic, library and classrooms," 23 June 2018 Low-income areas often also have low property values, and Canton has some of the cheapest real estate in the country. Sarah Brookbank,, "Study: 5 Ohio cities among the 50 worst cities to live in," 13 June 2018 Bain, founded in 1984, manages more than $95 billion in private equity, credit, real estate and other assets, according to its website., "SoftBank raises stake in Yahoo Japan in purchase from Altaba," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'real estate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of real estate

circa 1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for real estate

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for real estate

The first known use of real estate was circa 1642

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real estate


Financial Definition of real estate

What It Is

Real estate refers to land, as well as any physical property or improvements affixed to the land, including houses, buildings, landscaping, fencing, wells, etc.

How It Works

Vacant land and residential lots, plus the houses, outbuildings, decks, trees sewers and fixtures within the boundaries of the property are examples of real estate. Furniture, cars, paintings, jewelry and boats are examples of personal property rather than real estate.

There are a variety of ways to invest in real estate, ranging from real estate investment trusts (REITs) to buying rental property or multi-family housing.

For investors turned off by the idea of fixing plumbing and dealing with tenants, REITs offer the opportunity to participate directly in the ownership or financing of real estate projects. REITs are tradable interest (much like a share of stock) in a pool of real estate-related assets. REITs own, and often operate, income-producing real estate such as office buildings, apartments, shopping centers, warehouses and hotels. Many REITs specialize in one property type, such as offices, apartments or regional shopping malls.

Most investors buy REITs for their rich dividends, although those dividends are usually fully taxable. Keep in mind, though, that each real estate sector is affected by different economic cycles. Larger, diversified, or geographically dispersed REITs are less exposed to regional weakness and major economic cycles. On the other hand, smaller, more specialized REITs often provide the greatest growth potential.

Why It Matters

In addition to having real value that investors can touch, feel and understand, real estate can be an excellent diversification tool for investors. If you pay the right amount for your property, there's potential to reap steady, long-term returns as a landlord.

Portfolios containing real estate tend to outperform those without real estate over the long haul.  Investing in real estate can also offer reduced risk because the real estate market is not closely correlated with stock or bond markets.

[For information on real estate investment trusts, see our REITs definition.]

[InvestingAnswers Feature: Real Estate Investors' Top Strategies for Getting the Best Price on Rental Properties.]

Source: Investing Answers

real estate


English Language Learners Definition of real estate

: property consisting of buildings and land

: the business of selling land and buildings

real estate


Kids Definition of real estate

: property consisting of buildings and land

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real estate


Legal Definition of real estate 

: real property at property

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Comments on real estate

What made you want to look up real estate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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