Reza, thought provoking. I am a REIT investor. But, it means that I am trying to select the corporate Uncle Joes with diversified portfolios. My presumption is that they will have expertise in various markets and properties that I don’t and they will stretch my dollar. I am not very rich, so I ride the coattails the Uncle Joe REITs with thousands of other investors.
I have also owned my own house. The missing point in your analysis is that if I don’t buy I have to rent. Depending upon where I rent, I may not have enough left over to buy REIT units. But, when I have purchased, my cost of ownership was always less than renting in the same market. My good luck was to always sell in a rising market. But, in the breakeven case, buying with leverage would have still been a better deal for me than renting in the areas where bought.
That is the calculus that is missing in your overview.