Real estate or immovable property is a legal term (in some jurisdictions) that encompasses land along with anything permanently affixed to the land, such as buildings. Real estate (immovable property) is often considered synonymous with real property (also sometimes called realty), in contrast with personal property (also sometimes called chattel or personality).
In British usage, however, “real property”, often shortened to just “property”, refers rather to land and fixtures as such while the term “real estate” is used mostly in the context of probate law, and means all interests in land held by a deceased person at death excluding interests in money arising under a trust for sale of or charged on land.
In French, Italian and Spanish, real estate is called “immovables” (immobilier in French, immobili in Italian and inmueble in Spanish); other property is called “movables” (mobilier and mueble).
With the development of private property ownership, real estate has become a major area of business. Within each field, a business may specialize in a particular type of real estate. Specialists are often called on to valuate real estate and facilitate transactions. Within each field, a business may specialize in a particular type of real estate, such as residential, commercial, or industrial property.
Purchasing real estate requires a significant investment, and each parcel of land has unique characteristics, so the real estate industry has evolved into several distinct fields.
In addition, almost all construction business effectively has a connection to real estate. Banks are willing to make such loans at favorable rates in large part because, if the borrower does not make payments, the lender can foreclose by filing a court action that lets them take back the property and sell it to get their money back.