Real estate is simple – you feel you are in control; you can touch what you own. You can fix the taps, pay the rates etc.
Compare that to buying shares... where do you start? What company do you buy, how do you read the annual accounts, when is a good time to buy or sell, how am I taxed and so on. Or you could invest with a fund but there are so many bad stories about funds and they are even more difficult to understand than individual companies.
So it is a case of familiarity – Kiwis have been raised on investing property and they understand it; the culture of share ownership is not so nearly ingrained.
Finally the bank will lend you money to buy property, but it is far more difficult to get a loan for a share portfolio. And if you’re geared you stand to make more money over time – at least for as long as property prices go up. And they always go up – eventually – don’t they? This is how people think about property.