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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Real estate investment trust

A Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT (pronounced /ˈriːt/) is a tax designation for a corporation investing in real estate that reduces or eliminates corporate income taxes. In return, REITs are required to distribute 90% of their income, which may be taxable in the hands of the investors. The REIT structure was designed to provide a similar structure for investment in real estate as mutual funds provide for investment in stocks.

Like other corporations, REITs can be publicly or privately held. Public REITs may be listed on public stock exchanges like shares of common stock in other firms.

REITs can be classified as equity, mortgage or hybrid.

The key statistics to look at in REIT are its NAV (Net Asset Value), AFFO (Adjusted Funds From Operations) and CAD (Cash Available for Distribution). REITs face challenges from both a slowing economy and the global financial crisis, depressing share values by 40 to 70 per cent in some cases.

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