Real EstateFinancial Dictionary -> Mortgages -> Real Estate
It is often defined as 'real' because the property is physically real, and is not referring to the items or decorations that might aesthetically increase its value. An elegant pair of curtains would be an example of this. They aren't 'real property' or part of the transaction, but might excite the buyer in to purchasing the house due to the image they portray.
What constitutes as real estate is normally anything physically related or built on to the buildings or land. Upon sale, anything that is 'real' goes towards valuing the property. The main building is real property, as is its outside walls, fences and any structural extensions; however a cabinet, couch or pair of curtains are personal items and shouldn't be part of the transaction. People will often leave behind the odd useless personal item when moving home, but it is never factored in to the sale.
Real estate is a very large industry and one that nearly every person is involved with at some point. Buying and selling your family home is taking part in real estate, but the term is only really used when you overtly invest in property, property development or actively buy, sell or build property. There are many sub-industries within real estate, including appraisal services to value the property, brokers who charge a fee to make the transaction go smoothly and legal, property management, which involves managing the day to day aspects of a client's apartments and buildings, marketing, investing and much more.
Although it will always remain strong (people always need somewhere to live), the real estate market took a hit in 2008 during the economic decline.