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In common law, real estate refers to land and any other immovable property affixed to it, such as tress or buildings. The term real estate is often used interchangeably with the term real property, but the term real estate emphasizes the asset itself, and real property encompasses the legal issue of ownership. Although real estate is of paramount importance given its unique characteristics, precise economic statistics are difficult to obtain. Various estimates of the total value of all privately held real estate in the US are all in the trillions of dollars. Real estate is a tax-advantaged way to accumulate and hold wealth in the US. Important federal tax code provisions beneficial to real estate ownership such as the real estate mortgage interest deduction and the 1031 exchange rules for real estate investment property have no parallel in other asset classes. The etymology of real estate traces back to Spanish and Latin roots for the word regal, reflecting the medieval view that all European land was property of the monarchy.



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