REITs were created by Congress under President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960 and have consistently generated strong returns for investors. The U.S. REIT industry has grown into a marketplace of 150 companies involved in ownership and financing of all commercial property types.
The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index, since its inception in 1972, has yielded a cumulative total return of 8,035 percent. U.S. equity REITs have strongly outpaced the S&P 500 over the last 10 years, delivering a compound annual return of 11.38 percent, compared to negative 0.02 percent for the S&P 500.
The industry’s equity market capitalization as of October 31 was $349 billion, $345 billion of which was represented by NYSE-listed companies.