Equity REITS trounce markets

Oct 1, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

By Janet Morrissey

Equity real estate investment trusts continue to outperform the broader market in today’s volatile environment.

In the first nine months of 2008, the group generated total returns, including dividends, of about 1.8%, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts in Washington.

This outpaced the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, which was down 19.3%; the Nasdaq Composite Index, which was off 21.1%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was down 18.2%; and the Russell 2000 Index, which slipped 10.4%.

Within the REIT group, the companies posting the biggest gains were self-storage REITs, which generated returns of 33.8%.

This was followed by health care REITs, whose returns were up 18.5%, and apartment REITs, which rose 17.4%.

The groups’ attractive dividends helped many of the companies deliver positive returns.

The worst-performing REITs were mortgage REITs, whose returns were -31%, lodging REITs, which were down 26.7%, and industrial REITs, which were off 25.4%.

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