Housing guru Shiller: Put your money in stocks

robert shiller
Yale professor Robert Shiller famously predicted the housing bubble.

Stocks may be better than a home if you want to get rich.

That's according to Robert Shiller, renowned housing expert and Noble prize winning economist.

"It would be perhaps smarter, if wealth accumulation is your goal, to rent and put money in the stock market, which has historically shown much higher returns than the housing market," said Shiller, who was speaking at a panel discussion Thursday.

He pointed out that the strategy has worked well for the Swiss. Switzerland has a "very low" home ownership rate and yet the people there are "rich" and "very patriotic," Shiller said.

Related: Are you a homebuying genius?

So should Americans load up on stocks and forget about owning a home?

Not quite, especially when you look at current stock market valuations under a measure created by none other than the esteemed Yale professor Shiller himself.

According to his so-called CAPE ratio, the outlook for returns in the stock market right now is pretty lousy.

As of November, the ratio, compares stock prices to corporate earnings over the preceding decade, was 26.5. According to Credit Suisse research, when the ratio is between 26 and 27, stock returns decline by 1% in the next five years.

And Shiller said he expects home prices to be "up a bit" next year.

Related: Millions of Americans are spending too much on housing

Shiller also pointed out that while renting affords more freedom, home ownership tends to encourage people to be more involved in their community.

"It's good that we have homeowners," he said.

A house ultimately can be a good investment, he said, because it requires owners to be committed.

"One nice thing about investing in a house is that you're committed to a mortgage payment," he said. "So if you don't take out a home equity line of credit or do something like that, you will accumulate wealth."

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