Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a key consideration when constructing any equity or fixed-income portfolio. They provide greater diversification, potentially higher total returns and/or lower overall risk. In short, their ability to generate dividend income along with capital appreciation make them an excellent counterbalance to stocks, bonds and cash. REITs generally own and/or manage income-producing commercial real estate, whether it’s the properties themselves or the mortgages on those properties. You can invest in the companies individually or through an exchange-traded fund or mutual fund. Here we look at a few of the main ones and their historical returns.
Approximately 24% of REIT investments are in shopping malls and freestanding retail. This represents the single biggest investment by type worldwide. Whatever shopping center you frequent, it’s likely owned by an REIT. When considering an investment in retail real estate, one first needs to examine the retail industry itself. Is it financially healthy at present and what is the outlook for the future?