The No. 1 Secret of Wildly Successful Real Estate Players

When we look at real estate from an investing perspective, it's been nothing but green pastures over the last 40 years (yes, 40).

In fact, the real estate investment trust (REIT) indexes have outperformed stocks these past four decades, gaining a significant edge by paying attention to prices in relation to property value.

That's admittedly pretty shocking, especially when you also consider the nationwide housing crisis that devastated the global economy just over 10 years ago.

The inescapable conclusion? Don't be duped by the lingering sting of the recession or Jay Powell's currently hawkish agenda: Real estate is always a good market to have your feet in.

Now, you'd think I'd be excited by all the recent reports suggesting REITs are a strong buy right now since they trade at a substantial discount to net asset values on a historical basis.

It sounds sexy, but here's the problem: Investing in REITs at this level won't make you the kind of big, long-term profits you'd get if you took a different approach, like what I'm about to show you.

This is less about looking at the discount and more about listening to the discount. It sounds a little Zen, I know, but it's worked very well for me in the past.

And once you know what the discount is telling you, you're well on the way to making an unreasonably large pile of money in these consistently strong investments.

Here's exactly what I mean...

[mmpazkzone name="in-story" network="9794" site="307044" id="137008" type="4"]

There's Discounts and Then There's Discounts

Anyone who knows me knows I follow the real estate markets closer than my shadow follows me across the beach.

When I hear about economic health indicators like commercial real estate pricing, occupancy levels, and rent levels, I become giddy with excitement - no kidding.

LIVE ON CAMERA: Watch America's No. 1 Pattern Trader officially become $1,050 richer in 15 seconds! His secret to becoming a multimillionaire is so easy that anybody can do it. Click here for details...

I closely track every aspect of the real estate markets, because my portfolio is packed with REITs and small regional banks... which hold loan portfolios stuffed with real estate.

Obviously, finding individual REITs for less than asset value is a wildly profitable endeavor, which is why I've been doing it for decades now.

But when the entire sector trades at a discount, the market is telling you something very different.

See, for the last 30 years, REITs have traded at about a 2% premium to the broader stock market. In other words, the market is saying that investors seem pretty damn upbeat about the prospects for real estate, and stocks should naturally rise to match the value of those REITs.

And yes, generally speaking, the market has been correct in those cases.

History says it all: When REITs sell at a premium, about 86% of the time they move higher in price.

That's because investors correctly forecast the rising value of the underlying properties held by more liquid REITs, and so they invest broadly in the sector.

There you have it: Though the idea of a sector trading at a discount might seem appealing at first, you have to understand what the market is saying when the discount is widespread.

And there are a couple ways for this gap to close...

How to Hear What the Discount Is Saying

The first is one we just touched on: REIT prices appreciate to market value. The other is that private market values fall to the level of REIT pricing.

If you can't determine which outcome is more likely, that perceived "really great" discount buying opportunity... can lead to near-term losses.

MUST SEE: Watch this guy officially become $1,050 richer in 15 seconds... $940 richer in 11 seconds... $1,260 richer in 8 seconds... and $988 richer in 7 seconds! Then discover how you could do this all yourself. Click here...

I've tracked the discount relations to private market value for a long time now. I've developed what I think is a pretty good methodology for determining which scenario is most likely.

Very simply, it goes like this...

If real estate and REIT prices have been rising for an extended period of time, then the widening of the discount is usually telling us that prices are about to slow down, and may even drop back to the level of the current REIT valuation.

It's more of a "Sell" indicator than a "Buy" sign.

On the other hand, if prices have been falling and the discount in a given real estate sector widens, you are probably seeing the more psychologically sensitive liquid REIT market overshoot a stabilizing private market.

When that happens, get ready - it's probably time to start hunting for bargains in that sector.

With that in mind, let's look at today's market

We see multifamily housing and office prices have been rising for years, and the discount to private market value is growing.

The market is saying that the move has gone far enough, and REIT buyers aren't willing to pay up for what it sees as inflated prices in these asset classes.

That means it's probably a good time to look elsewhere for potential bargains - unless you see an unreasonably good opportunity or special situation.

Here's an opportunity I think you could probably capitalize on this afternoon, if you want.

Thanks to Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), real estate prices have been dropping like a rock for several years now. Retail-focused REITs are trading at a substantial discount to the private market value of the properties.

This indicates how the more emotional REIT investors may be overshooting on the downside, which makes right now a good time to hunt for high-quality retail REITs that can be bought at a discount to the value of the property they own.

"Letting the discount speak" and understanding what it says will make you a better real estate investor. It's an unbeatable edge over the herd out there. Making the discount work for you instead of against you can lead to outrageous returns in the future.

You Could Be Paid $2,353

Very soon, we'll be releasing a very simple set of instructions to a selection of our readers.

Each person who follows these steps could be paid a total of $2,353 in only 28 seconds.

You won't need to buy a single share of stock up front to collect this cash. You won't need to spend a nickel on anything.

Click here to find out how...

Follow Money MorningonFacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

About the Author

Tim Melvin is an unlikely investment expert by any measure. Raised in the "projects" of Baltimore by a single mother, he never attended college and started out as a door-to-door vacuum salesman. But he knew the real money was in the stock market, so he set sights on investing - and by sheer force of determination, he eventually became a financial advisor to millionaires. Today, after 30 years of managing money for some of the wealthiest people in the world, he draws on his experience to help investors find "unreasonably good" bargain stocks, multiply profits, and build their nest eggs. Tim tirelessly works to find overlooked "hidden gems" in the stock market, drawing on the research of legendary investors like Benjamin Graham, Walter Schloss, and Marty Whitman. He has written and lectured extensively on the markets, with work appearing on Benzinga, Real Money, Daily Speculations, and more. He has published several books in the "Little Book of" Investment Series and a "Junior Chamber Course" geared towards young adults that teaches Graham's principles and techniques to a new generation of investors. Today, he serves as the Special Situations Strategist at Money Morning and the editor of Peak Yield Investor.

Read full bio