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Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS)

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that owns, operates, or finances income-generating real estate. Similar to mutual funds, REITs pool capital of multiple investors to purchase investment properties, mortgages and other real estate assets. This page lists the 100 largest United States REITs by market cap. What is a REIT?

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CompanyCurrent PricePE RatioMarket CapVolumeAverage VolumeIndicator(s)
AMT
American Tower
$276.38
-0.2%
50.25$125.87 billion22,4521.82 million
PLD
Prologis
$160.17
+0.5%
60.44$118.42 billion49,6372.49 millionDividend Announcement
CCI
Crown Castle International
$192.21
+0.0%
63.44$83.07 billion50,5271.78 million
EQIX
Equinix
$807.76
-0.6%
170.05$72.73 billion6,378537,521
PSA
Public Storage
$343.04
+0.8%
40.98$60.15 billion7,226721,244Insider Selling
Analyst Revision
SPG
Simon Property Group
$158.02
+1.1%
25.61$51.93 billion68,1502.69 millionAnalyst Revision
DLR
Digital Realty Trust
$167.09
-0.2%
70.50$47.42 billion18,7381.41 millionInsider Selling
SBAC
SBA Communications
$357.10
-0.8%
135.78$39.12 billion3,697620,810
WELL
Welltower
$85.96
+1.4%
82.65$37.42 billion44,5172.06 million
AVB
AvalonBay Communities
$246.16
+2.0%
34.05$34.40 billion14,105716,370Analyst Report
Analyst Revision
ARE
Alexandria Real Estate Equities
$212.42
+0.8%
32.28$32.92 billion9,188812,484Dividend Increase
Analyst Report
EQR
Equity Residential
$87.67
+1.8%
31.09$32.88 billion42,5691.97 millionAnalyst Report
Analyst Revision
News Coverage
WY
Weyerhaeuser
$39.54
+0.5%
11.95$29.62 billion44,0004.43 million
EXR
Extra Space Storage
$209.41
+0.3%
39.00$28.04 billion8,098745,332Analyst Revision
O
Realty Income
$68.79
+0.6%
54.60$27.81 billion107,2973.71 million
MAA
Mid-America Apartment Communities
$218.31
+1.5%
58.53$25.14 billion31,134590,329Dividend Increase
Analyst Report
Analyst Revision
News Coverage
SUI
Sun Communities
$204.26
+2.6%
62.27$23.69 billion23,850588,927Dividend Announcement
DRE
Duke Realty
$62.02
+1.0%
25.52$23.62 billion15,8911.74 million
ESS
Essex Property Trust
$349.55
+1.3%
50.81$22.75 billion3,906346,175Analyst Report
Analyst Revision
News Coverage
Positive News
VTR
Ventas
$50.40
+2.0%
95.10$20.12 billion90,5782.21 millionDividend Announcement
PEAK
Healthpeak Properties
$34.47
+0.8%
29.97$18.58 billion55,7113.17 millionAnalyst Report
BXP
Boston Properties
$118.13
+2.6%
57.91$18.45 billion11,167943,789Analyst Upgrade
UDR
UDR
$58.99
+0.0%
294.96$18.24 billion42,3271.85 millionAnalyst Report
Analyst Revision
VICI
VICI Properties
$28.85
+2.3%
15.59$18.15 billion160,7525.52 millionAnalyst Report
CPT
Camden Property Trust
$173.88
+1.5%
146.12$17.77 billion6,471664,462Dividend Announcement
Analyst Report
Analyst Revision
News Coverage
Positive News
ELS
Equity LifeStyle Properties
$86.58
+2.1%
60.97$15.92 billion10,070790,902Analyst Downgrade
WPC
W. P. Carey
$79.91
+0.8%
32.48$14.89 billion8,323920,986News Coverage
Positive News
KIM
Kimco Realty
$23.74
+0.6%
12.43$14.63 billion71,6914.97 million
AMH
American Homes 4 Rent
$42.39
+1.9%
121.12$14.18 billion34,2211.74 millionAnalyst Upgrade
IRM
Iron Mountain
$48.18
+0.2%
21.90$13.95 billion29,3102.28 million
MPW
Medical Properties Trust
$22.23
-0.6%
23.16$13.26 billion91,2614.10 millionOptions Volume
News Coverage
Positive News
REG
Regency Centers
$74.49
+0.5%
38.20$12.75 billion7,9241.01 million
NLY
Annaly Capital Management
$8.48
+0.2%
4.37$12.30 billion493,13215.41 million
CUBE
CubeSmart
$55.71
+1.3%
50.65$12.19 billion37,4481.11 million
HST
Host Hotels & Resorts
$17.03
+2.7%
N/A$12.16 billion202,9397.81 millionAnalyst Revision
LAMR
Lamar Advertising
$115.57
+0.1%
31.32$11.70 billion2,303434,800
LSI
Life Storage
$141.61
-0.1%
50.04$11.61 billion5,577543,433Insider Selling
Analyst Revision
REXR
Rexford Industrial Realty
$76.21
+1.8%
113.75$11.54 billion37,660859,972
CONE
CyrusOne
$89.49
+0.2%
218.27$11.36 billion212,9481.24 million
GLPI
Gaming and Leisure Properties
$47.26
+0.9%
18.90$11.26 billion64,269975,913Analyst Report
News Coverage
FRT
Federal Realty Investment Trust
$132.75
+0.8%
43.81$10.33 billion4,660602,102Positive News
STOR
STORE Capital
$34.74
+1.5%
37.36$9.47 billion44,0871.42 million
SNLAY
Sino Land
$6.06
+1.0%
N/A$8.96 billion2,2591,663
COLD
Americold Realty Trust
$33.20
+0.6%
N/A$8.86 billion73,9912.10 millionNews Coverage
Positive News
EGP
EastGroup Properties
$212.64
+0.2%
69.04$8.65 billion5,346172,381Dividend Increase
Analyst Upgrade
AGNC
AGNC Investment
$15.92
+0.4%
5.98$8.36 billion146,0986.55 million
AIRC
Apartment Income REIT
$53.15
+0.5%
N/A$8.34 billion12,882777,168Analyst Report
Analyst Revision
FR
First Industrial Realty Trust
$63.87
+1.3%
34.34$8.32 billion11,272978,453Analyst Upgrade
News Coverage
VNO
Vornado Realty Trust
$43.23
+2.2%
N/A$8.28 billion17,5311.67 million
NNN
National Retail Properties
$46.61
+1.4%
31.71$8.19 billion14,252969,009
KRC
Kilroy Realty
$69.60
+2.0%
12.36$8.11 billion13,009932,324
ACC
American Campus Communities
$55.47
+2.4%
426.69$7.72 billion21,624816,997Analyst Downgrade
Analyst Revision
News Coverage
HTA
Healthcare Trust of America
$34.80
+1.3%
69.60$7.69 billion64,8501.88 millionAnalyst Upgrade
Positive News
STAG
STAG Industrial
$44.95
+1.4%
35.67$7.63 billion16,605991,960
COR
CoreSite Realty
$170.01
-0.2%
82.53$7.51 billion60,134441,757
BRX
Brixmor Property Group
$24.70
+1.6%
34.79$7.34 billion69,8522.17 millionAnalyst Revision
STWD
Starwood Property Trust
$24.90
-3.2%
15.66$7.19 billion429,4131.87 millionNews Coverage
Gap Down
OHI
Omega Healthcare Investors
$28.83
+1.1%
15.17$6.89 billion56,0042.26 million
KLPEF
Klépierre
$21.93
-1.0%
N/A$6.25 billion9,1492,680High Trading Volume
MGP
MGM Growth Properties
$38.97
+2.4%
28.87$6.11 billion31,8661.10 millionAnalyst Downgrade
DEI
Douglas Emmett
$34.75
+1.7%
99.29$6.10 billion16,0601.18 millionDividend Announcement
Positive News
CUZ
Cousins Properties
$39.92
+1.2%
48.68$5.94 billion16,304862,044
NSA
National Storage Affiliates Trust
$64.60
+0.6%
73.41$5.75 billion16,038656,003Analyst Revision
Positive News
RYN
Rayonier
$39.32
+0.4%
36.07$5.56 billion2,665616,099
NRZ
New Residential Investment
$11.42
+0.8%
8.34$5.33 billion110,5775.24 million
BXMT
Blackstone Mortgage Trust
$31.36
+0.6%
12.25$5.25 billion8,7181.17 million
HHC
The Howard Hughes
$94.85
+0.9%
N/A$5.23 billion1,543242,542News Coverage
SLG
SL Green Realty
$76.73
+2.3%
8.03$5.12 billion36,0991.01 millionDividend Increase
Analyst Report
Analyst Revision
News Coverage
ADC
Agree Realty
$71.41
+1.3%
40.57$4.98 billion7,228577,082Analyst Upgrade
News Coverage
PSB
PS Business Parks
$179.89
+0.2%
32.53$4.96 billion61388,919Insider Selling
News Coverage
HR
Healthcare Realty Trust
$32.60
+0.4%
171.59$4.81 billion33,935981,627Positive News
KRG
Kite Realty Group Trust
$21.94
+2.0%
168.78$4.81 billion32,557952,152Positive News
HIW
Highwoods Properties
$44.50
+1.1%
17.32$4.65 billion84,903732,152
RHP
Ryman Hospitality Properties
$83.26
+2.7%
N/A$4.58 billion10,738449,117Analyst Revision
HASI
Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital
$57.97
-0.4%
53.18$4.56 billion15,092574,491
LXP
Lexington Realty Trust
$15.31
+0.7%
19.38$4.33 billion50,9261.98 millionPositive News
DBRG
DigitalBridge Group
$8.17
-0.4%
N/A$4.20 billion104,1623.69 million
BNL
Broadstone Net Lease
$25.79
+0.7%
45.25$4.16 billion8,4511.18 millionPositive News
DOC
Physicians Realty Trust
$18.61
+1.1%
54.74$4.10 billion35,3541.80 million
MAC
The Macerich
$18.97
-1.1%
N/A$4.04 billion92,2355.37 million
PCH
PotlatchDeltic
$59.73
+0.9%
8.34$4.01 billion4,837450,781Dividend Increase
Analyst Upgrade
CIM
Chimera Investment
$16.38
-0.1%
5.59$3.88 billion21,3731.87 millionDividend Announcement
News Coverage
OUT
Outfront Media
$26.52
+0.8%
N/A$3.86 billion12,3691.54 million
JBGS
JBG SMITH Properties
$28.93
+1.0%
N/A$3.75 billion17,057565,644
PECO
Phillips Edison & Company Inc
$32.95
+1.4%
N/A$3.73 billion1,461286,048
APLE
Apple Hospitality REIT
$15.97
+2.4%
N/A$3.65 billion53,0972.02 millionAnalyst Downgrade
EPR
EPR Properties
$48.40
+1.2%
372.34$3.62 billion4,431675,704
EPRT
Essential Properties Realty Trust
$29.00
+0.4%
46.77$3.53 billion14,272815,795Dividend Increase
Analyst Revision
SITC
SITE Centers
$15.83
+0.8%
79.15$3.34 billion175,7041.81 million
SBRA
Sabra Health Care REIT
$13.79
+1.5%
N/A$3.15 billion39,5851.92 millionPositive News
UNIT
Uniti Group
$13.32
-1.5%
88.81$3.14 billion18,1921.69 million
OFC
Corporate Office Properties Trust
$27.76
+1.6%
21.52$3.12 billion12,851830,476Analyst Downgrade
Positive News
EQC
Equity Commonwealth
$25.68
+1.0%
N/A$3.10 billion10,7431.08 millionAnalyst Downgrade
Positive News
PEB
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
$22.60
+3.5%
N/A$2.97 billion62,1951.36 millionPositive News
IRT
Independence Realty Trust
$25.57
+1.5%
88.17$2.69 billion12,214743,734Dividend Announcement
Positive News
ABR
Arbor Realty Trust
$18.45
+1.0%
7.78$2.64 billion49,1261.46 million
NHI
National Health Investors
$56.55
+2.2%
18.07$2.59 billion2,134312,090
BDN
Brandywine Realty Trust
$13.99
+2.5%
87.44$2.39 billion43,6631.85 millionNews Coverage
Positive News
ROIC
Retail Opportunity Investments
$18.81
+0.9%
41.80$2.28 billion20,713988,456Analyst Upgrade
RLJ
RLJ Lodging Trust
$13.50
+2.1%
N/A$2.25 billion88,6621.15 millionPositive News

Summary - For investors who are looking to get the benefits of investing in real estate without owning property, a real estate investment trust (REIT) is an attractive option. And by combining the popularity of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with an investment in REIT stocks, investors can get the benefits of REIT stocks with much lower risk. With a REIT ETF, investors can own a diverse group of properties inside of a fund that is traded in the same way that they would buy and sell shares on a stock exchange. REIT ETF investors also benefit from the high dividend yields that REIT ETFs generate.

For a company to be considered a REIT, they have to meet many specific requirements. These requirements, which were established by Congress when they created the concept of a REIT in 1960, help ensure that investors can maximize the income generating aspect of a REIT.

Like any ETF investors should pay close attention to the ETF’s prospectus for information regarding who manages the fund, the fees, and expenses associated with the fund, whether the fund is actively or passively managed, and the overall investment philosophy of the fund before deciding whether to invest. A REIT ETF carries the same risks, although perhaps moderated, as other real estate investments. The most notable threat to the profitability of an ETF is rising interest rates.

Introduction

Part of the grown-up humor in the children’s classic A Charlie Brown Christmas is when Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she never gets what she really wants for Christmas. When Charlie Brown asks Lucy what that something is, she replies “real estate”.

Investors have long understood the value of real estate as an investment vehicle. However, property ownership was, and in some cases still is, a barrier of entry for all but institutional investors. That was one of the reasons Congress established the concept of a real estate investment trust (REIT) that would give individual investors an opportunity to invest in real estate without owning residential or commercial real estate. Just like the housing market, a REIT can be subject to the volatility of the stock market. However, REITs have several rules in place that make them an attractive investment option. When you combine those rules with the benefits of an exchange-traded fund (ETF), REITs can be an attractive alternative for income-oriented investors in any market.

In this article, we’ll look at REIT ETFs as an investment decision. For those investors who are unfamiliar with what REITs are, we’ll define what a REIT is as well as look at give a basic overview of what an ETF is. As the article goes on, we’ll put the two together to show why a REIT ETF can give investors the advantages of investing in real estate with less risk.

What is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)?

In 1960, Congress established a financial product that would allow individual investors to invest in real estate without having to buy or finance property. A Real Estate Investment Trust (or REIT) is made up of a number of real estate companies that own a portfolio of income-producing real estate assets. Investing in a REIT allows these investors to earn a share of the income that these assets produce.

Real estate investment trusts are divided into two categories: equity REITs and mortgage REITs.

  • Equity REITs invest in a variety of commercial properties such as offices, shopping malls, apartments, and hotels. The primary income source for these REITs comes through the income they receive from rent. Equity REITs currently make up the majority of the REIT market with more than $2 trillion of assets under management. Avalon Bay Communities (NYSE: AVB) is an example of an equity REIT.
  • Mortgage REITs, by contrast, are composed of more residential than commercial properties and most of their income is derived from mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Mortgage REITs (or mREITs) profit from the spread between the interest rates they earn from their mortgage loans and the rates they are changed for their short-term borrowing. For example, let's look at a mortgage REIT that purchases a 15-year mortgage that pays them 3% interest per year. If their short-term borrowing cost is 2% per year than they will have a difference or spread of 1% that represents their profit. New York Mortgage Trust (NASDAQ: NYMT) is an example of a mortgage REIT.

REITs can be publicly listed and publicly traded in the stock market, publicly listed (but not publicly traded), or privately listed. REITs must follow specific rules that make them an attractive investment. To begin with, REITs are modeled after mutual funds in the sense that every REIT contains a “basket” of properties. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats a REIT like a corporation. Shares in a REIT must be widely held by shareholders and the REIT itself must primarily own or finance real estate. In addition, their real estate holding must have a long-term investment outlook.

Some additional rules that govern REITs include:

  • At least 75% of their income must be earned from real estate as rent, interest, or the sale of real estate assets.
  • At least 75% of their assets must be in real estate.
  • At least 95% of their income must be passive.
  • At least 90% of their taxable income must be distributed to shareholders as dividends (a REIT has no retained earnings). All dividends are taxed at ordinary rates.

What are the benefits of investing in REITs?

Dividend income– Because of the rules that govern REITs, investors are assured of a dividend payout that is higher in proportion to other stocks. Financial advisors will often recommend a REIT to their income-oriented clients because the dividend yields have historically been higher than stocks on the S&P 500 index. 

Diversification – REITs have a historically low correlation with other asset classes like stocks and bonds. This means that when stocks and bonds are undergoing a correction, REITs generally may do well. However, to maximize the benefits of diversification, investors should look to invest in a variety of REITs so as to get diversification not only between asset classes but also within an asset class.

Inflation Hedging– Equity REITs, in particular, have demonstrated an ability to generate increased revenue – from rent for example – even during periods when inflation is on the rise. This means that investors who are looking for an income that will provide reliable income that can help sustain a longer retirement timeline.

Total Return Performance– In addition to issuing regular dividends, REITs have a proven history of long-term capital appreciation. In fact, over the past half-century, REITs have outperformed the broader stock market as well as other assets.

Liquidity and Transparency– Because they are traded on stock exchanges, REITs offer the same liquidity as other stocks. And because those that are publicly traded are registered and regulated by the SEC, investors are assured that the companies are subject to the SEC standards for corporate governance, financial reporting, and information disclosure. 

What is an exchange-traded fund (ETF)?

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is one of many financial products that serve as a vehicle for investing in REITs. In contrast to a mutual fund which reconciles share price once a day based on the fund’s closing price, shares of an ETF trade like a common stock on an exchange, meaning the market price will go up or down throughout a trading session as shares are bought and sold. An ETF generally trades with a higher daily volume than a mutual fund and has lower fees and expenses which can make them more attractive for investors. Like a publicly traded company that sells shares on a stock exchange, a company that manages an ETF is required to disclose information about the fund to the public.

Putting it all together, the REIT ETF

A REIT ETF is an exchange-traded fund that is exclusive to REIT stocks. As an investor, REIT funds are an ideal vehicle to use a low-cost investment vehicle to gain exposure to a diverse range of properties. As with any investment, investors should take care to perform their due diligence before deciding to invest money in a REIT ETF.

  • Know who manages the ETF– in many cases, REIT ETFs are issued by well-known investment firms that have earned the trust of investors. However, as ETFs have become increasingly popular, there are more companies that are ETFs being created. Just because a company is not well-known does not make it a bad investment, it just means that investors may have to perform more research before making an investment.
  • Know the fee structure– Although most ETFs charge lower fees and expenses than a mutual fund there are exceptions. The best way to compare the fees and expenses of an ETF is similar to how you would compare any asset class. Look at the prospectus of the REIT you are considering along with the prospectus of REIT ETFs that share a similar portfolio of assets.
  • Know your risk tolerance– REIT ETFs help manage the risk that can come from owning real estate. They cannot, however, eliminate all risk. As should be expected, REIT ETFs are subject to the same market forces that affect the real estate market. They are extremely sensitive to interest rates as well as employment rates.

How to have success with a REIT ETF

There are currently more than 200 REIT ETFs for investors to choose from. REIT ETFs are beginning to figure prominently in the 401(k) plans. However, like other investment vehicles, not all ETFs are the same. To have success, investors should understand what the investment philosophy of the ETF is and match that to their personal risk tolerance. Like any mutual fund, portfolio managers can get very niche driven which can add more risk to the ETF that investors are comfortable with. You should also be sure to know if the fund is actively managed or passively managed. In an actively managed ETF, a portfolio manager selects the REIT stocks that make up the fund and will actively buy and sell stocks to generate a higher total return. In a passively managed fund, the portfolio manager seeks stocks that track an index. The Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) Nareit Index tracks the performance of the U.S. REIT industry and the Global REIT market.

Finally, investors should look for diversification. This means looking at U.S. REIT ETFs as well as the global REIT ETF market.

The bottom line on REIT ETFs

One of the most important strategies for investment success is the ability to profit in any market condition. For income investors, a REIT EFT can help produce regular and predictable income even in times of low-interest rates. A REIT ETF provides the ability for investors to gain exposure to and profit in the real estate market without owning property. Owning shares of a REIT ETF is similar to buying shares of a REIT stock with the exception that investors have more diversification because they are purchasing a basket of companies rather than tying their investment to a specific REIT stock.

One of the most important benefits of a REIT ETF is regular dividend distributions along with some capital appreciation that can lead to a total return that, while not as high as if the investor owned the underlying properties comes with significantly lower risk. Like the real estate market in general, REIT ETFs can be sensitive to fluctuations in interest rates.

 



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