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I had a question for the knowledgeable people of this board. In the following link

The author brings up a number of interesting points. However... he produces a chart and claims the following:

"Real estate (VNQ) has generated up to 4x higher total returns than the S&P 500 (SPY) from 1997 until 2016:"

Notwithstanding the fact that VNQ started in 2004 according to Vanguard's site (and that the chart doesn't actually name VNQ), the closest proxy for this that I could find was Vanguard's equivalent mutual fund VGSIX. Running this through the following total return site and comparing it to SPY gives me nowhere near the numbers he claims:

does anybody have any thoughts one way or the other? Clicking on the source link right next to the chart gives me a Google search which brings up the same chart at this website so it's totally useless.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
A few thoughts:

- I don't think VNQ even existed until 2004 as both yahoo and schwab charts show it starting in the later half of 2004.

- I don't think that one large asset class will outperform another large AND SIMILAR asset class by that anything close to that degree over that long of a period. The similarities are that they are both forms of equity and both domestic to the U.S. I "think" that if you compare similar indexes, and both VNQ and SPY mostly track different indexes, you can't find that degree of out performance for that amount of time no matter what indexes you are talking about such as DOW, S&P 500, Russel 2000, EAFE, NAREIT, etc.,. You may find significant outperformance for relatively short time periods or slight out performance for longer time periods, but not 4x for 20 years.

- If you chart VNQ from Oct 1, 2004 soon after it started, you will find that it has increased a little over 67% versus almost 100% for SPY, factor in dividends and much of SPY's greater price appreciation can be explained with VNQ's greater dividend. However, the real winner for the period is the Russell 2000 at 140% gain, but again with probably less dividends than the other two investments.

If VNQ did exist back to 1997, you have to remember that REITs performed very poorly in 1998 and 1999 in general and there was a HUGE discrepancy between REITs poor performance in the late 90's and SPY's great performance. However, in the early 2000's REITs started a period of outperformance which peaked in 2006. I think that is how markets work, great outperformance of broad indexes is typically limited to relatively short periods of time and not decades.
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