Are REITs A Good Long Term Investment?

REITs are investments that provide a total return. They usually provide significant dividends and have a moderate chance of long-term financial appreciation. REIT stocks have long-term total returns that are comparable to value equities and higher than lower-risk bonds.

Why are REITs not a good investment?

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are not for everyone. This is the section for you if you’re wondering why REITs are a bad investment for you.

The biggest disadvantage of REITs is that they don’t provide much in the way of capital appreciation. This is because REITs must return 90 percent of their taxable income to investors, limiting their capacity to reinvest in properties to increase their value or acquire new holdings.

Another disadvantage is that REITs have very expensive management and transaction costs due to their structure.

REITs have also become increasingly correlated with the broader stock market over time. As a result, one of the previous advantages has faded in value as your portfolio becomes more vulnerable to market fluctuations.

Is REIT a good investment in 2021?

Three primary causes, in my opinion, are driving investor cash toward REITs.

The S&P 500 yields a pitiful 1.37 percent, which is near to its all-time low. Even corporate bonds have been bid up to the point that they now yield a poor return compared to the risk they pose.

REITs are the last resort for investors looking for a decent yield, and demographics support greater yield-seeking behavior. As people near retirement, they typically begin to desire dividend income, and the same silver tsunami that is expected to raise healthcare demand is also expected to increase dividend demand.

The REIT index’s 2.72 percent yield isn’t as high as it once was, but it’s still far better than the alternatives. A considerably greater dividend yield can be obtained by being choosy about the REITs one purchases, and higher yielding REITs have outperformed in 2021.

Weak Growth

REITs that are publicly listed are required to pay out 90% of their profits in dividends to shareholders right away. This leaves little money to expand the portfolio by purchasing additional properties, which is what drives appreciation.

Private REITs are a good option if you enjoy the idea of REITs but want to get more than just dividends.

No Control Over Returns or Performance

Investors in direct real estate have a lot of control over their profits. They can identify properties with high cash flow, actively promote vacant rentals to renters, properly screen all applications, and use other property management best practices.

Investors in REITs, on the other hand, can only sell their shares if they are unhappy with the company’s performance. Some private REITs won’t even be able to do that, at least for the first several years.

Yield Taxed as Regular Income

Dividends are taxed at the (higher) regular income tax rate, despite the fact that profits on investments held longer than a year are taxed at the lower capital gains tax rate.

And because REITs provide a large portion of their returns in the form of dividends, investors may face a greater tax bill than they would with more appreciation-oriented assets.

Potential for High Risk and Fees

Just because an investment is regulated by the SEC does not mean it is low-risk. Before investing, do your homework and think about all aspects of the real estate market, including property valuations, interest rates, debt, geography, and changing tax regulations.

Fees should also be factored into the due diligence process. High management and transaction fees are charged by some REITs, resulting in smaller returns to shareholders. Those fees are frequently buried in the fine print of investment offerings, so be prepared to dig through the fine print to find out what they pay themselves for property management, acquisition fees, and so on.

Are REIT a good investment now?

The best real estate investment trusts (REITs) are those that can provide investors with market-beating total returns, which are made up of dividend yield and stock price gain as their market capitalization rises. To achieve those gains, a REIT must be able to boost its dividend by growing the income generated by its real estate assets. An income investor can buy three top REITs with outsized upside potential this month.

Can you get rich off REITs?

There is no such thing as a guaranteed get-rich-quick strategy when it comes to real estate equities (or pretty much any other sort of investment). Sure, some real estate investment trusts (REITs) could double in value by 2021, but they could also swing in the opposite direction.

However, there is a proven way to earn rich slowly by investing in REITs. Purchase REITs that are meant to grow and compound your money over time, then sit back and let them handle the heavy lifting. Realty Income (NYSE: O), Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR), and Vanguard Real Estate ETF are three REIT stocks in particular that are about the closest things you’ll find to guaranteed ways to make rich over time (NYSEMKT: VNQ).

What are the safest REITs?

These three REITs are unlikely to appeal to investors with a value inclination. When things are uncertain, though, it is generally wise to stick with the biggest and most powerful names. Within the REIT industry, Realty Income, AvalonBay, and Prologis all fall more generally into that category, as well as within their specific property specialties.

These REITs are likely to have the capital access they need to outperform at the company level in both good and bad times. This capacity should help them expand their leadership positions and back consistent profits over time. That’s the kind of investment that will allow you to sleep comfortably at night, which is probably a cost worth paying for conservative sorts.

How much of my portfolio should be in REITs?

Despite the fact that REITs trade on major stock exchanges, many financial planners (including myself) consider real estate to be a separate asset class from stocks and bonds. As a general guideline, allocating 5 percent to 10% of your assets to REITs is an excellent approach to diversify your exposure and/or improve your portfolio’s dividend income.

Of course, this is just a starting point; in some cases, the optimum answer for you may be substantially higher. REITs, for example, account for around 30% of my stock portfolio. It’s wise to invest in what you know, as many prominent investors have said. Real estate is the sector in which I am most comfortable appraising, thus it accounts for the majority of my portfolio’s allocation.

For income-seeking investors, REITs could be a solid choice for more than 10% of a stock portfolio. Let’s face it: today’s bond and other fixed-income investment yields aren’t exactly stellar. However, there are a slew of REITs with dividend yields in the 3% to 4% range that are completely sustainable. As a result, a retiree or other income-oriented investor might benefit from a bigger REIT investment.

How much should you invest in REITs?

Private REITs, while they have many of the characteristics of a REIT, do not trade on a stock exchange and are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States (SEC). They aren’t required to give the same level of information to investors as a publicly traded firm because they aren’t registered. Institutional investors, such as major pension funds and accredited investors (those with a net worth of more than $1 million or an annual income of more than $200,000), are typically the only ones who buy private REITs.

According to NAREIT, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, private REITs may have an investment minimum ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 per unit.

Risk: Because private REITs are generally illiquid, getting your money when you need it can be challenging. Second, private REITs are exempt from corporate governance policies because they are not registered. That implies the management team can act in ways that demonstrate a conflict of interest with little to no oversight.

Last but not least, many private REITs are managed externally, which means they have a management that is paid to administer the REIT. External managers’ compensation is frequently based on the amount of money they manage, which presents a conflict of interest. The manager may be motivated to do things that increase his or her fees rather than what is best for you as an investment.

Non-traded REITs

Non-traded REITs are in the middle: they’re registered with the SEC like publicly listed firms, but they don’t trade on major exchanges like private REITs. This type of REIT is required to provide quarterly and year-end financial reports by law, and the filings are open to the public. Public non-listed REITs are another name for non-traded REITs.

Risk: Non-traded REITs can have high management costs, and they’re generally managed externally, similar to private REITs, posing a conflict of interest with your investment.

Furthermore, non-traded REITs, like private REITs, are typically relatively illiquid, making it difficult to get your money back if you suddenly need it. (Here are a few more points to keep in mind while investing in non-traded REITs.)

Publicly traded REIT stocks

This type of REIT is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and trades on major stock markets, giving public investors the highest potential to profit from individual investments. Due to the nature of public corporations being subject to disclosure and investor supervision, publicly listed REITs are generally considered preferable to private and non-traded REITs in terms of management expenses and corporate governance.

Risk: REIT stock prices can fall, just like any other stock, especially if their specialized sub-sector falls out of favor, and sometimes for no apparent reason. There are also many of the hazards associated with investing in individual equities, such as poor management, poor business decisions, and large debt loads, the latter of which is particularly prevalent in REITs. (For more information on how to buy stocks, click here.)

Publicly traded REIT funds

A publicly listed REIT fund combines the benefits of publicly traded REITs with the added security of a mutual fund. REIT funds often provide exposure to the entire public REIT world, allowing you to buy one fund and own a stake in roughly 200 publicly traded REITs. Residential, commercial, lodging, towers, and other REIT sub-sectors are all represented in these funds.

Investors can benefit from the REIT model without the risk of individual stocks by purchasing a fund. As a result, they benefit from diversification’s ability to reduce risk while enhancing profits. Many investors like funds because they are safer, especially if they are new to investing.

Risk: While REIT funds largely mitigate the risk of a single firm, they do not eliminate dangers that are common to REITs as a whole. For REITs, rising interest rates, for example, raise the cost of borrowing. And if investors conclude that REITs are unsafe and would not pay such high prices for them, many of the sector’s equities could fall. In other words, unlike an S&P 500 index fund, a REIT fund is tightly diversified across industries.

REIT preferred stock

Preferred stock is a unique type of stock that works much like a bond rather than a stock. A preferred stock, like a bond, provides a regular cash dividend and has a fixed par value that can be redeemed. Preferred stock, like bonds, will fluctuate in response to interest rates, with higher rates resulting in a lower price and vice versa.

Preferred stock, on the other hand, does not receive a share of the company’s continuous profits, so it is unlikely to rise in value beyond the price at which it was issued. Unless the preferred stock was purchased at a discount to par value, an investor’s annual return is expected to be the dividend value. In contrast to a traditional REIT, where the stock can continue to appreciate over time, this is a big deal.

Risk: Preferred stock is less volatile than common stock, which means its value will not fluctuate as much as a common stock’s. However, if interest rates rise much, preferred stock, like bonds, will likely suffer.

Preferred stock is positioned above common stock (but below bonds) in the capital structure, requiring it to pay dividends before common stock, but only after the company’s bonds have been paid their interest. Preferred stock is often regarded as riskier than bonds, but less hazardous than common equities, due to its structure.

Do REIT dividends count as income?

Dividend payments are assigned to ordinary income, capital gains, and return of capital for tax reasons for REITs, each of which may be taxed at a different rate. Early in the year, all public firms, including REITs, must furnish shareholders with information indicating how the prior year’s dividends should be allocated for tax purposes. The Industry Data section contains a historical record of the allocation of REIT distributions between regular income, return of capital, and capital gains.

The majority of REIT dividends are taxed as ordinary income up to a maximum rate of 37% (returning to 39.6% in 2026), plus a 3.8 percent surtax on investment income. Through December 31, 2025, taxpayers can deduct 20% of their combined qualifying business income, which includes Qualified REIT Dividends. When the 20% deduction is taken into account, the highest effective tax rate on Qualified REIT Dividends is normally 29.6%.

REIT dividends, on the other hand, will be taxed at a lower rate in the following situations:

  • When a REIT makes a capital gains distribution (tax rate of up to 20% plus a 3.8 percent surtax) or a return of capital dividend (tax rate of up to 20% plus a 3.8 percent surtax);
  • When a REIT distributes dividends received from a taxable REIT subsidiary or other corporation (20% maximum tax rate plus 3.8 percent surtax); and when a REIT distributes dividends received from a taxable REIT subsidiary or other corporation (20% maximum tax rate plus 3.8 percent surtax); and when a REIT distributes dividends received from
  • When allowed, a REIT pays corporation taxes and keeps the profits (20 percent maximum tax rate, plus the 3.8 percent surtax).

Furthermore, the maximum capital gains rate of 20% (plus the 3.8 percent surtax) applies to the sale of REIT stock in general.

The withholding tax rate on REIT ordinary dividends paid to non-US investors is depicted in this graph.

How long do you have to hold a REIT?

An entity must be a corporation, trust, or association to qualify as a REIT. A REIT must be administered by one or more trustees or directors and cannot be a financial institution or an insurance company. For the second taxable year and beyond, the REIT’s ownership (which must be demonstrated by transferable shares or transferable certificates of beneficial interest) must be held by at least 100 shareholders for at least 335 days of a 365-day calendar year (or equivalent for a short tax year).

A REIT cannot be owned in a small number of hands. If more than 50% of the value of a REIT’s outstanding shares is owned directly or indirectly by or for five or fewer individuals at any stage during the final half of the taxable year (this is known as the 5/50 test), the REIT is considered closely held. Spouses and other family members are grouped together and counted as a single person for this purpose.

Do REITs do well in a recession?

It’s crucial to remember that nothing can fully protect you against a recession. Any venture has weaknesses and hazards, and each economic downturn presents new obstacles.

While no recession is the same as the last, there are some real estate sectors that are more robust during a downturn. Real estate investments that meet people’s basic requirements, such as housing and agriculture, or that provide important services for economic activity, such as data processing, wireless communications, industrial processing and storage, or medical facilities, are more likely to weather the storm.

Investors can own and manage properties in any of the asset classes, but many prefer to invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs) (REIT). REITs can be a more affordable and accessible method for investors to enter into real estate while also obtaining access to institutional-quality investments in a diversified portfolio.

Data centers

We live in a data-driven technology era. Almost everything we do now requires data storage or processing, and the demand for data centers will only grow in the next decades as more technological or data-driven gadgets are released. During recessions, more people stay at home to watch TV, use their computers or smartphones, or, in the case of the recent coronavirus outbreak, work from home, increasing the need on data centers. According to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, there are currently five data center REITs to select from, with all five up 33.73 percent year to date (NAREIT).


Self-storage is widely regarded as a recession-proof asset type. As budgets tighten, some families downsize, relocating to other places to better their quality of life or pursue a new work opportunity, or downsizing by moving in with each other to save money. This indicates that there is a higher need for storage.

The COVID-19 pandemic, on the other hand, has had an unforeseen influence on the storage industry. While occupancy has remained high, eviction moratoriums and increasing cleaning and safety costs have resulted in lower revenues. According to NAREIT, self-storage REITs are down 3.51 percent year to date. However, this industry is expected to recover swiftly, particularly for companies like Public Storage (NYSE: PSA), the largest publicly traded self-storage REIT, which has a strong credit rating and a diverse portfolio.

Warehouse and distribution

E-commerce has altered the way our economy works. Demand for quality warehousing and distribution centers has soared as more consumers purchase from home than ever before. Oversupply of industrial space, particularly warehouse and distribution space, is a risk, given that this sector has been steadily growing for the past decade; however, as a result of COVID-19, it has already proven to be the most resilient asset class of all commercial real estate, making it an excellent choice for a recession-resistant investment. Prologis (NYSE: PLD), one of the major warehousing and logistics REITS, and Americold Realty Trust (NYSE: COLD), a REIT that specializes in cold storage facilities, have both proven to be quite durable in the present economic situation, with plenty of space for expansion.

Residential housing

People will always require housing. Residential housing, which can range from single-family homes to high-rise flats or retirement communities, fulfills a basic need that is necessary even in difficult economic times. During economic downturns, rents may stagnate and evictions or foreclosures may increase, but residential rentals are a relatively reliable and constant source of income. Despite the COVID-19 challenges, American Homes 4 Rent (NYSE: AMH), which specializes in single-family rental housing, and Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR), which specializes in urban high-rises in high-density areas, are two of the largest players in residential housing, both of which have maintained high occupancy and collection rates.


Aside from housing, agriculture and food production are two additional critical services on which our country and the rest of the world rely. Our existing food system is primarily reliant on industrial agriculture, but more and more autonomous and regenerative agricultural projects are springing up, allowing for more crop diversification, increased productivity, and reduced economic and environmental risk.

Wireless communication

Wireless communication has grown into a giant sector, with American Tower (NYSE: AMT) and Crown Castle International (NYSE: CCI) being two of the world’s largest REITs. Cell tower REITs that provide telecommunication services are an important part of our world today, and while growth prospects can be difficult to come by, very good track records and rising demand make this a terrific real estate investment that will weather any economic downturn.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities, senior housing, hospitals, urgent care clinics, and surgery centers all provide a vital service that will always be in demand, even during economic downturns.

Retail centers

Before you abandon ship when you see this category, let me state unequivocally that retail is not dead, at least not in all forms. Grocery stores and other retail outlets that provide critical services and products will continue to be in demand, as they did during the last pandemic. The issue here is for retail REITs to invest in the vital service sector with such focus that other sectors such as tourism, restaurants, or general shopping and goods do not put the company or investment at risk.