Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)


A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a company that owns, operates, or finances income-generating real estate properties. REITs pool investors’ funds to acquire or develop a diversified portfolio of real estate assets. These trusts allow individual investors to earn income from real estate investments without directly owning or managing the properties.


Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in phonetics is:/ˈriːəl ɪˈsteɪt ˌɪnˈvɛstmənt ˈtrʌst/

Key Takeaways

  1. A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a company that owns, operates, or finances income-producing real estate. They provide investors with an opportunity to invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate assets without actually owning or managing the properties themselves.
  2. REITs are required to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders annually, which often leads to potentially higher dividend yields compared to other investment options. This makes them an attractive option for investors seeking income-generating investments.
  3. There are several types of REITs, including Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs, and Hybrid REITs. Each of these focuses on different aspects of real estate, such as owning and managing properties, providing mortgage financing, or a combination of both. This allows investors to choose the type of real estate exposure that best aligns with their investment goals and risk tolerance.


Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is an important term in the business/finance world as it provides a unique investment vehicle that offers potential for consistent income, portfolio diversification, and capital appreciation. This is achieved by allowing investors to pool their capital and invest in portfolios of income-generating properties, such as office buildings, shopping centers, and residential complexes, without the burden of directly owning and managing these properties. REITs are typically required to pay out a significant portion of their taxable income as dividends to their shareholders, resulting in a steady stream of income. Additionally, investing in REITs allows investors exposure to the real estate market, thereby diversifying their portfolios by reducing reliance on traditional stocks and bonds.


Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) serve a crucial purpose in the finance and business world by providing an avenue for both small and large investors to participate in the ownership of diverse income-producing real estate properties, without the burden of direct property management. Through pooling resources and capital from multiple investors, REITs allow for the acquisition, operation, and management of a diverse portfolio of real estate properties such as shopping malls, office spaces, apartment complexes, healthcare facilities, and other commercial properties. By investing in REITs, investors have an opportunity to diversify their portfolios, benefit from potential capital appreciation, and gain a stable income stream through dividends generated from rental income of the underlying properties.

REITs are particularly attractive investment vehicles due to their unique features and performance characteristics. One significant aspect is that they are required, by law, to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income in the form of dividends to shareholders each year, which results in a consistent income stream for investors. Additionally, as REITs specialize in specific market sectors, investors have the flexibility to choose the type of property sectors that align with their investment objectives, such as retail, industrial, or residential. REITs also enable investors to benefit from professional management of properties, leading to more informed and strategic decision-making in the real estate market.

Furthermore, since these trusts are publicly traded on major stock exchanges, they offer a high degree of liquidity, allowing investors to buy or sell shares with ease. Overall, REITs provide an accessible and efficient means for investors to diversify their portfolios and participate in the real estate sector, while enjoying a robust income stream and potential long-term growth.


1. Simon Property Group (SPG): Simon Property Group is one of the largest and most well-known Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the world. It specializes in investing in retail properties, primarily shopping malls and outlet centers. As of 2021, it owns and operates more than 200 properties in the United States and internationally. Simon Property Group trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SPG.

2. American Tower Corporation (AMT): American Tower Corporation is an REIT that focuses on investing in wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure, including cell towers, making it a unique player within the real estate sector. Its portfolio consists of over 186,000 communication sites, with assets spread across the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. American Tower Corporation stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AMT.

3. Welltower Inc. (WELL): Welltower is an REIT specializing in healthcare real estate. Its portfolio comprises senior housing communities, long-term care facilities, medical office buildings, and other healthcare facilities. Welltower’s mission is to promote wellness and improve the lives of its residents while providing consistent returns for investors. The company’s shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WELL.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)?

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a company that owns, manages, or finances income-generating real estate properties. It provides individual investors with a low-cost, diversified way to invest in real estate, similar to investing in stocks or mutual funds.

How do REITs work?

REITs pool the capital of numerous investors to purchase a wide variety of income-generating real estate properties like offices, apartments, shopping centers, and hotels. Shareholders of a REIT earn a portion of the income generated from the properties, primarily through dividends.

What are the different types of REITs?

REITs are classified into three main types: Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs, and Hybrid REITs. Equity REITs own and manage commercial and residential properties. Mortgage REITs invest in mortgage loans or mortgage-backed securities. Hybrid REITs invest in both properties and mortgages.

How are REITs taxed?

In the United States, REITs are required to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders annually in the form of dividends. As such, REITs typically do not pay federal corporate income taxes. Instead, income taxes are paid by the shareholders at their individual tax rate.

What are the benefits of investing in REITs?

Investing in REITs offers numerous benefits including diversification, steady income through dividends, exposure to the real estate market, professional management, and liquidity, as they are easily traded on major stock exchanges.

How can I invest in REITs?

You can invest in REITs by purchasing shares through brokerage accounts on major stock exchanges, similar to purchasing stocks. REITs are also available in some mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that focus on real estate investments.

What are the potential risks associated with REITs?

Some potential risks of investing in REITs include market risk, interest rate risk, management risk, and property-specific risks such as tenant turnovers, property damage, or vacancies. It is important to carefully research and assess the potential risks before investing in REITs.

How are REITs different from real estate mutual funds or ETFs?

While both REITs and real estate mutual funds or ETFs provide investors with exposure to the real estate market, REITs invest directly in properties or mortgages, whereas real estate mutual funds or ETFs invest in the companies that own, manage, or develop real estate.

Related Finance Terms

    • Real estate property assets
    • Equity REIT


  • Mortgage REIT
  • Real estate investment trust taxation
  • REIT index funds

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More