We explain what movable and immovable property are, how they are classified and what their main characteristics are.

What are the properties?

Assets are the set of properties and wealth susceptible , throughout life , of appropriation by a person (natural person) or an organization of people (legal person).

Goods refer to things, broadly speaking, including money (capital), that last over time and can change from one hand to another in various types of transaction. People can never be considered as goods.

Assets can be classified according to their nature (and therefore the legal regime that applies to them) into movable property and real estate.

Characteristics of movable and immovable property :

  1. Portability


  • Real estate or real estate. They are those that are irretrievably linked to the ground , that is, to the specific place where they are. A house, a building, a farm, an industrial warehouse, are examples of this.
  • Movable property. They are those that it is possible to move from one place to another, without resulting in an attack on the integrity of the property, nor that of the property where these transportable objects are found. Decorative objects, artifacts, jewelry, paper money, books, furniture, are examples of this.

  1. Origin of this classification

Like so many others, it comes from Roman law and its Summa Divisio Rerum , which translates " from the total classification of things ." In it, the distinction between objects susceptible of appropriation (private) and those necessarily public began to be shaped.

That is why this Roman provision also bases the split between public law and private law , inherited by our current legal doctrines.

  1. Types of real estate

Types of real estate

The existence of six types of real estate is usually considered, according to their role and nature:

  • For nature. Like the soil and the layers of the subsoil.
  • By incorporation. Like buildings and constructions.
  • By destination. Such as tools and objects for exclusive use in the property.
  • By analogy. Like the mortgage concessions and transfers.
  • By accession. Like the doors, windows and other goods that, when installed in their place, become part of the property.
  • By representation. Such as the documentation or the deeds that grant ownership of the property.

Although these categories are usually general , the specific nomenclature may vary according to the legal framework of each country.

  1. A relative distinction

A relative distinction

The different branches of law may disagree on what is considered movable and immovable , according to their particular approaches and interests.

Thus, for civil law, all assets that are naturally attached to the ground or to a real estate surface (tiles, sinks, pipes, cabinets, kitchen, etc.) are part of the property in question. While, for purposes of criminal law , they are considered movable property as they can be perfectly susceptible to theft.

The same is true for tax law, which usually appraises real estate only and only some of the movable property (jewelry, foreign currency, etc.).

  1. Property registration

While the majority of movable property is susceptible to a more free and informal exchange , most of the real estate responds to a very specific property registration, which grants the same from the elaboration of a formal legal document.

Hence, also, that real estate is the main object of a mortgage guarantee.

  1. Vehicles


Ships, automobiles, aircraft and other unique types of vehicle on a large and small scale generally receive legal treatment similar to that of real estate . In this way, they respond to property records, taxes and are also mortgable assets (movable mortgage).

  1. It is not a legal synonym for "thing"

Although movable property are things or objects in the strict sense, they should not be confused in legal language with the term " thing " , which designates the object of a specific legal relationship, whether it is a good, a right or an obligation, inclusive.

Although assets are legal things , not all legal things are assets.

  1. Taxes

Given their importance in the total of the properties of an individual or institution, these assets are usually subject to fiscal legislation through different taxes, such as:

  • Income tax
  • Wealth tax
  • Real estate tax
  • Tax on the increase in the value of urban land

And another type of collection that the legal framework of each country contemplates. This is due to the fact that they constitute properties of high economic value and long duration in time.

  1. Is real estate more valuable?

Is real estate more valuable?

Traditionally, it was held that yes , not only due to its high economic cost, but to the cultural and heritage implications that they imply, such as their successorial nature (inheritable) and their connection, with the family environment and the sphere of intimacy, or with the productive, agricultural or industrial.

This consideration, however, has been questioned in recent times , since the added value of certain products (and even certain information) can exceed the cost of large real estate.

New technologies and the corporate world, for example, have brought with them new forms of ownership and new change values that often challenge the functioning of traditional legal frameworks.

  1. Capital: movable and immovable at the same time

Although cash is considered a movable good , as it is transportable, the total capital, as a measure of the wealth of an individual or institution, is the sum of the full value of what is owned, both in movable and immovable property, and therefore, it is considered from both lines at the same time (or neither).

It must be remembered that capital is a mechanism for the representation of wealth , whose value lies in the exchange for consumer goods or goods of any nature, much more than an enjoyable good in itself.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


She has pursued her studies in The United States, where she has graduated in Business and Economics and is currently finishing her Master studies in International Economics and Finance. Miss. Amputee is fluent in three languages: English, Spanish and Russian and has elementary knowledge of French and Italian. She love exploring how Collaborative Research Group can become the best tool to achieve the (necessary) educational change. .

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