Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

REITs Revealed: 5 Insights for Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts:

Things you need to know about REITs.
By Expert Tips
Date: March 21 2024
Editor Rating:

Whether you’re specifically interested in commercial property available to buy or simply want to diversify your portfolio, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are a compelling choice for those who want to go beyond traditional stocks and bonds.

By pooling resources, REITs offer a unique blend of income generation and capital appreciation potential. However, diving into the world of REITs can be daunting. Here are five key insights to guide both novice and seasoned investors through the lucrative landscape of REIT investments.

Understanding the types of REITs

Before you invest a dime, it’s crucial to understand that not all REITs are created equal. Broadly categorised into Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs, and Hybrid REITs, each type operates distinctly. Equity REITs own and manage income-generating real estate, offering investors a slice of the rental income pie. Mortgage REITs, on the other hand, provide financing for real estate transactions and earn income from the interest on these financial assets. Hybrid REITs combine the strategies of Equity and Mortgage REITs, offering a balanced mix of income and financing.

Your investment goals and risk tolerance will dictate the type of REIT that aligns with your portfolio. Seeking steady income? Equity REITs might be up your alley. Comfortable with a bit more risk for potentially higher yields? Mortgage REITs could be worth a look.

The power of diversification

One of the most attractive features of REITs is the opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio. Real estate markets can behave differently from the stock market, offering a hedge against volatility. Moreover, within the REIT sector, you can spread your investments across various property types—such as residential, commercial, healthcare, and retail—and geographic locations.

Diversification reduces your investment risk. By spreading your capital across different types of REITs, you're not putting all your eggs in one basket, thus mitigating the impact of a downturn in any single market segment.

The double-edged sword of liquidity

REITs are traded on major stock exchanges, so you can buy and sell shares of a REIT much like you would with stocks. This gets around the hassle and time commitment involved in buying or selling actual real estate properties.

While liquidity is a boon for investors looking for flexibility, it also means that REIT prices can be volatile. This requires investors to be vigilant and consider the timing of their investments.

Income and tax considerations

REITs are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends, often resulting in higher dividend yields compared to other equities. However, the tax treatment of these dividends can be complex, as they may be taxed at a higher rate than qualified dividends from other stocks.

The attractive dividend yields of REITs can provide a steady income stream, but investors should be mindful of the tax implications. Consulting with a tax professional will help ensure your REIT investment complements your overall tax strategy.

Research and due diligence are key

As with any investment, due diligence is paramount before diving into REITs. This includes researching the REIT's management team, investment strategy, property portfolio, and financial performance. Look for REITs with a strong track record of performance, a solid strategy for growth, and transparency in their operations.

In-depth research and due diligence will help you identify REITs that are well-positioned for success, maximising your potential for returns while minimising your risk.

Investing in REITs offers an accessible way to own a bit of real estate without the need to directly buy or manage properties. Before doing so, keep the above five insights in mind and reach out to relevant finance professionals to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.

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