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Warren Buffett Owns Up to Mistakes

With companies like Clayton Homes, Acme Brick, and Johns Manville listed under the Berkshire Hathaway umbrella, it is no wonder that Buffett is anxious to see the housing market snap back. In addition to helping his own company, the investor has proclaimed on a number of occasions that he feels this sector is one of the biggest weights on the nation's recovery picture.

His timeframe may have been off, but the investor is far from ready to give up on the U.S. housing market. On the contrary, in an interview with CNBC at the start of the week, the Nebraska native looked favorably towards the sector, admitting that, given the current low rates, he would be buying single-family homes if he was able to.

I have long stood by the belief that, given the challenges it is currently facing, the residential housing market should be avoided by all but the most risk-tolerant investors. A better play on real estate is to turn to real estate investment trusts, or REITS.

In addition to providing investors with a stable source of income, funds like the iShares Dow Jones Real Estate Index Fund (IYR) and the iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund (ICF) can also offer exposure to the attractive apartment industry. By maintaining a small position in either of these two products, investors can benefit in the event that Buffett's mistake transforms into another success.

It can be difficult for an investor to admit to errors. However, the exercise can help to prevent against unnecessary losses. How has Buffett's honesty regarding his missteps affected your view of him? Feel free to leave a comment in the space below.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the iShares Dow Jones Real Estate Index Fund.
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