What Is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)?
A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that owns, and in most cases operates, income-producing real estate. REITs own many types of commercial real estate, ranging from office and apartment buildings to warehouses, hospital, shopping centres, hotels, and commercial forests. Some REITs engage in financing real estate.
Most countries’ laws on REITs entitle a real estate company to pay less in corporation tax and capital gains tax. REITs have been criticised as enabling speculation on housing, and reducing housing affordability, without increasing finance for building.
REITs can be publicly traded on major exchanges, publicly registered but non-listed, or private. The two main types of REITs are equity REITs and mortgage REITs (mREITs). In November 2014, equity REITs were recognized as a distinct asset class in the Global Industry Classification Standard by S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI. The key statistics to examine the financial position and operation of a REIT include net addet value (NAV), funds from operations (FFO), and adjusted funds from operations (AFFO).