REITs REITs (REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS)WHAT IS A REIT?A REIT is a professionally managed company that owns, and usually operates a portfolio of incomeproducing real estate. Most REITs have an equity value of $500 million or more. Some have manybillions is equity. Investors include individuals, endowments, pension plans, insurance companies andothers.With REITs, the typical individual has the opportunity to diversify into a large portfolio of premiumproperties that he/she would not be able to purchase individually. At the same time, this is a passiveinvestment with professional management in place. Any loans on the properties are totally nonrecourseto investors.Income generated by the REIT is available for distributions to investors, typically on a monthly basis.The law requires that the REIT distribute 90% of taxable income each year. REIT PROPERTIESDifferent REITs typically focus on one property type, although some REITs may diversify into more thanone property type and/or one geographic area. Property types include Apartments(multifamily), Officebuildings, Industrial/warehouse, Healthcare, Self-storage, Hospitality and Retail.Many of the properties are subject to long term net leases with major credit tenants (Fortune 500companies) TRADED VS. NON-TRADED REITsTraded REITs can be bought or sold on a stock exchange just like any other stock whenever theexchange is open. Accordingly, they are liquid. They are also closely correlated to the general securitiesmarkets.Non-traded REITs are not bought and sold on a national stock exchange; but, like traded REITs, they areregulated by the SEC. Unlike traded REITs, non-traded REITs are considered an illiquid asset. Some Non-traded REITs have a provision that may allow for quarterly liquidity at a discount. Otherwise, investorswill not receive principal back until there is a liquidity event. This could mean an outright sale of assetsto a major pension plan or other institutional buyer, sale to a traded REIT, merger with a traded REIT, oran IPO. NON-TRADED REIT ADVANTAGESMonthly income potential. Monthly income from REIT distributions. The law requires that 90% of annualtaxable income be distributed to shareholders. Distributions will increase to the extent suchtaxable income increases.Appreciation potential. Any appreciation in value of the real estate should increase the value ofthe REIT shares. Investors will realize this appreciation upon liquidation of their interests.Diversification. Non-traded REITs are not highly correlated to the stock market. Therefore, thisasset class should be considered a way to provide portfolio diversification and the potential forhigher overall returns.The Power of Compounding. Non-traded REITs typically offer investors a choice between 1)receiving monthly distributions in cash or 2) reinvesting the monthly distribution through adividend reinvestment plan (DRIP program). With the DRIP program an investor benefits in 2ways. First, the investor can ordinarily buy additional shares at a reduced cost. Secondly, theinvestor benefits from compounding. For example, if you assume an original investment of $100,000 (10,000 shares at $10 per share),a 6% annualized distribution, and a $9.40 per share cost under DRIP, then at the end of year 3you would have 12,093 shares with an effective rate on the original investment equal to 7.7%.“Portfolio Premium” on liquidation. Simply put, the accumulated properties are worth morethan the sum of the value of the individual properties. Whether it’s a sale of assets or the REIT,merger or IPO, the parties recognize the premium value for a large portfolio of properties whichwas made possible by the hard work and expertise of the professionals that put the portfoliotogether over time.“Liquidation Premium” on liquidation. There is a value premium recognized when the REIT goesfrom an illiquid to a liquid state. This occurs when the non-traded REIT sells to a traded REIT,merges with a traded REIT, or does an IPO.TAX BENEFITS UNDER THE NEW TAX LAWThe “Tax Cuts & Jobs Creation Act” provides that REIT ordinary income distributions can now benefitfrom a 20% tax deduction. This has the effect of reducing the highest effective tax rate from 37% to29.6%.Ordinarily part of the distributions to shareholders constitute a return of capital and are not taxedcurrently. This stems from depreciation and amortization; and such amounts reduce the cost basis of theinvestment. There may be recapture of the deferred amounts as taxable income when there is a sale;but the advantage is that such amounts are taxed at the favorable capital gains rates, not at the higherordinary income rates. Have A Question About This Topic? Name Email Address Phone Question Thank you! Oops!