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8 Best Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in 2019

Last Updated: 29. July 2019
8 Best Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in 2019
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Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have positioned themselves as a perfect regular-returns investment given that they offer you the best of both the stock and property markets. This is made possible by the fact that a REIT company undertakes investments in the real estate industry and sells these REITS through the stock markets.

Your investment effectively gives you a shareholder status in the underlying real estate properties owned and managed by your preferred REIT company. Note that consistent positive REITs performance results in the growth in value in the stock market, you can sell them at a profit-earning you both property and stock market incomes.

This makes REIT the best investment opportunity for individuals who don’t have enough time or capital resources to build rental properties from the ground up. REITs pool together resources from different clients and use them to establish or fund rental real estate properties in the fast-moving commercial, residential, and student accommodation markets. And this sets them apart from most other real estate oriented stock investments as it comes with the guarantee of regular – mostly monthly or quarterly dividend distributions of the rental incomes.

In this guide, we look at why you should consider investing in REITs and some of the Best REITs you should consider investing with in 2019. But first, lets understand the two primary types of REITs:

Note: REITs offer you the best of both worlds. The fact that they are built around the real estate industry and even have the backing of physical properties or mortgages plus the fact that they can be traded in the stock exchanges ensures that you receive regular dividend distributions from rental incomes or mortgage interests and also gain from increments in the price of the REIT in the stock markets.

Types of REITS:

There are two primary types of REITs, the Equity and Mortgage REITS, and they differ not as much in form but their mode of operation. They both fit the qualification of a REIT that states that they must be 100% owned by shareholders, they must be managed by a board of directors and that they must pay at least 90% of their annual incomes. This, however, is their difference in the mode of operation.

Equity REITSMortgage REITS

Equity REITS refer to real estate trust funds that invest and own properties either in the commercial or residential markets. These will also refer to companies that invest in other properties and have their primary incomes stemming from rents.

Mortgage REITS refer to real estate trust funds that own and invest in mortgages and mortgage companies. These serve as investment capital lenders to other companies and individuals that are looking to fund or expand their real estate projects. Their primary source of income is in this case mortgage interests from company-owned and outsourced mortgages.

Why should you consider investing in REITS?

I. Guaranteed incomes

Real Estate Investment Trusts are supposed to distribute 90% of their taxable income to their shareholders. These earnings are relatively stable and are paid on a monthly or quarterly basis without fail. The same cannot be said of shares and stock investments whose earnings are not guaranteed and fluctuate heavily.

II. Immediate profits

Building a rental property takes time. So does marketing it and achieving full occupancy. You, therefore, have to wait for the completion of the building and occupancy to start receiving yields on your investments. REITS, on the other hand, guarantee immediate returns as soon as one month after making your deposit.

III. Less  stressful compared to building rental income

When investing in the real estate investment trusts, you won’t have to deal with all the bureaucracies, approvals, and taxes associated with setting up a physical property.

IV. Diversified and passive income source

The guaranteed regular returns on investments have positioned real estate investment trusts as the best for investors looking to diversify their incomes. The fact that they are expertly managed makes them the most suitable investment opportunity for investors looking for sources of passive income.

V. Highly transparent operations

REITS are 100% owned by shareholders who have the right of access to the company’s financial records and transactions. This effectively makes it one of the most transparent investment opportunities. The same cannot be said of most stock market investments.

What are the pros and cons of investing in REITS?

The Pros

  • Exposes you to the gains in both the real estate and stock markets
  • Offers guaranteed monthly incomes
  • Your REITS investments are backed by actual property investment thereby offering a security guarantee
  • Helps you create a wholly passive income stream
  • Relatively easy acquisition and management
  • Managed by both real estate and stock market experts thus increasing chances of higher incomes

The cons

  • While the incomes may be guaranteed, they aren’t as attractive as pure stock or rental property investments
  • Highly illiquid investment especially if they have a lockup period
  • Limited future growth as they are required to pay at least 90% of their revenues
  • Dividends from REITs are taxed as ordinary income

How to invest in REITS:

Step 1: Decide on the type of real estate investment trusts you want to invest in. For instance, do you wish to invest in real estate companies that specialize in equity, mortgage, technology or telecommunication products?

Step 2: Check whether the REIT is privately sold by the real estate company or issued publicly through the stock exchange

Step 3:  Buy into the REIT by making your initial deposit.

Step 4: Invest as much as you can – or as much as the law allows – and wait for your monthly/quarterly profit distribution

Note: Different companies have different investor qualification requirements. Check the requirements listed by your preferred REIT company while paying key attention to such factors as the one-time membership fee, annual management fee, accredited/unaccredited investor acceptance, and the minimum initial deposit required.

Criteria used to ran the best REITS for 2019:

  • Assets under management
  • Annualized gains
  • The initial investment amount required
  • REIT management
  • Management fees and charges
  • Expertise and experience of trust mangers
  • Markets invested in – domestic or international
  • Number of years in operation

Best REITS to invest in 2019:

1. StREITwise - 10% ROI

StREITwise is an Equity REIT with a rich history of owning and managing numerous cash-flowing real estate projects since its establishment. The company real estate investor has during this time maintained an average 10% annual dividend payouts making it one of the most profitable REITs available today. StREITwise is open to both the accredited and unaccredited domestic and foreign investors. And to invest here, you only need a minimum initial deposit of $1,000 with no upper limit to how much you can invest. Nonetheless, your investment here must be less than your 10% of your net worth – excluding your home value – and less than 10% your annual incomes in view of its relatively illiquid nature. The company maintains one of the most transparent fee structures and maintains an upfront 3% charge for new investors seeking to join the group and a further 2% management fee charged against your assets under management.

Pros:

  • Expertly managed by the real estate and stock market experts
  • Highly transparent fee structure with no hidden charges
  • One of the most attractive annualized returns on investments
  • Excellent customer support

Cons:

  • One may consider their 3% fee charged for new investors prohibitive
  • Minimal diversification exposing it to the huge real estate market volatilities

2. iShares Mortgage REIT - 0.48% fee p.a. and $1.3 Billion AUM

iShares Mortgage REIT by BlackRock is by far one of the most successful mortgage companies currently available. It also is by far the most diversified mortgage REIT we have come across as it invests in both the residential and commercial markets. Plus apart from owning and investing in direct real estate projects, the company also invests heavily in publicly- and privately-traded real estate stocks. Started in 2007, the REIT has over the years brought investments from different quotas to create a large pool of over $1.3 billion. A significant percentage of these funds are invested in the mortgage REITS with the rest spread between industrial, specialized and cash/derivatives.

Pros:

  • Highly diversified to minimize risks
  • Relatively low management fees and charges
  • Has the backing of one of the most established investment companies – BlackRock

Cons:

  • Lack of physical properties exposes the company to huge real estate market volatilities
3. Well Tower REIT - 14.9% ROI and $25 Billion AUM

WellTower Real estate investment trust was established in 2004 and its annualized returns on investments during this time have averaged 14.9% annually ever since. The company that currently boasts of a market valuation of $25 Billion specializes in owning and managing different healthcare properties across North America and the United Kingdom. The company owns over 1,500 healthcare facilities in these regions with a keen interest in senior living and recently partnered with Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund in a bid to fund more projects as they expect the number of seniors in most developed countries like the U.S to double in the next two decades.  Some of its largest clients that have leased their healthcare facilities on a long term basis include Pro Medita and Evolution Health. You may also want to note that their average yields have risen by 3% annually in the last five years.

Pros:

  • Expertly managed with a proven history of dividend yield growth
  • Attractive return on investment since inception that currently stands at 14.9%
  • Highly positive future growth as it targets the ever-growing senior living market

Cons:

  • Not immune to the real estate industry volatilities
4. Digital Realty Trust - 12% p.a. and $21 Billion AUM

Digital Realty Trust is a real estate investment company that specializes in the development of digital service provision facilities. It is especially involved in data management and currently boasts of maintaining one of the largest cloud services provision infrastructures globally that is hosted in their 198 data centers across the region. The realtor is also constantly building and acquiring new data center campuses and with their most recent acquisition being the $1 billion purchase of Brazil’s largest data center provider. This would see the REIT company bring an additional 14 data center properties aboard their already broad asset base. The annualized returns on investment in the real estate company have averaged 12% since its establishment in 2006 with their dividends distributed to their members every quarter.

Pros:

  • Above-average performance of their real estate segment
  • Pays regular and quarterly returns on investments
  • Invests in two fast-paced growth markets – real estate and technology – to boost returns

Cons:

  • Exposes your investments to both the real estate and technology industry volatilities
  • Minimal diversification exposes your investments to above-average risks
5. American Tower REIT - 12% ROI and $67.7 Billion AUM

American Towers is a communications services provider that owns and manages communication cell towers across the world. The REIT Company has so far built over 128,000 towers – 40,000 of which are in the United States with the rest spread across North and South America, Europe, and India. It then leases these towers on a mid- to long-term basis to most the telecommunication industry players in these countries. In the last decade, the dividend yield by the company that currently boasts of managing over $67.7 Billion in assets under management has reported an annualized 12% ROI. This is expected to rise steadily going into the future, especially with the expected roll-out of the 5G network and massive adoption of smartphones as manufacturing companies continue pushing their prices further down.

Pros:

  • Exposes your investment to massive prospects for growth in the near future
  • Attractive dividend yields in the last decade
  • Regular incomes through quarterly dividend payouts

Cons:

  • Exposes your investments to both real estate and telecommunication industry volatilities

6. Iron Mountain REIT - 8% ROI and $8.8 Billion

Iron Mountain is a real estate investment trust company that specializes in establishing and managing physical storage facilities across the world. Established in 2010, the company has so far built over 1,400 facilities in 54 countries across the world and currently serves over 225,000 clients with a special bias towards North American and Western Europe markets. The annualized average yield for the company over the past 8 years stands at 8% per annum. The steady growth of the company returns is evidenced by the fact that the dividend yield payout by Iron Mountain has increased by an average of 14.5% in the past three years.

Pros:

  • Unmatched growth opportunity as evidenced by the increased earnings over the past three years
  • Trusted by other 95% of Fortune 1000 companies
  • Attractive average returns on investments

Cons:

  • Exposes you to both the technology and real estate market volatilities
7. Americold Realty Trust - 10% ROI and $3.1 Billion AUM

Americold is the only stock market traded REIT that specializes in the development and management of temperature controlled warehouses. And while the real estate company may be relatively new, it already boasts of 154 warehouses under its management and over 2,400 clients across North and South America. Typically, the REIT generates income from renting their over 900 million cubic feet of storage and from franchising their brand. The return on investments here is projected to grow at a steady rate of between 10% and 15% in the next few years after the completion of several megaprojects that the realtor is pursuing.

Pros:

  • Market dominance gives it and their investors an advantage
  • Huge opportunity for growth
  • Attractive rate of returns on investment

Cons:

  • No proven track record of high attractive yields as current projections are based on uncertain future events
8. Gladstone Land REIT - 4.6% ROI and $189 Million AUM

Goldstone concludes our list of the best REITs that you should consider buying into in 2019.  Unlike most other REITS on this list that specializes in building physical properties, Gladstone is farm-oriented and acquires land from individual farmers before leasing it in chunks over a long period to corporations who produce vegetables and commodity crops for the U.S market. It also stands out from the rest of the industry operatives in the sense that unlike most of these other players whose returns are hugely variable, returns from Gladstone farms investments is fixed. Today, the farm maintains an active presence in over 10 states and has over 84 farms under its management that account for over 72,000 acres of land. Note that while the potential returns on investment may be low, they are fixed and span over periods with average farm rent period standing at 9 years.

Pros:

  • Guaranteed and fixed returns on investments
  • Operates in the insatiable food industry

Cons:

  • Exposed to both the food industry and national economy volatilities

Bottom line

The ever-declining interest rates for savings and the uncertainties in the stock markets have forced most investors to embrace investments that guarantee the security of their deposits via physical assets. This birthed the lucrative real estate investment trusts that seek provide you with both the benefits of the real estate industry and stock markets. Traditionally, these REITs were centered around the development and management of residential, commercial, and student accommodation properties. However, recent developments in the real estate industry like the 2007/8 real estate bubble burst has forced most REITS managers to come up with innovative real estate solutions that are aimed at protecting their client’s interests. These include diversifications that primarily involve fusing the real estate industry with technology, telecommunication, agricultural, and data management products. It is up to you to vet the different REIT solutions and identify one that appeals most to you.

FAQs

What are REITS?

A Real estate investment trust is a pool of managed funds geared towards real estate industry investments. It can be an equity-oriented REIT that owns and invests in physical real estate properties or mortgage-oriented REIT that owns and invests in mortgage products. These properties and mortgages can be in any form of real estate be it farmland, residential and commercial buildings, warehouses, or even data center hubs ownership and management.

How do I earn from my investments in REITS?

REITs generate income for their investors on two fronts. On one hand, they generate rental and lease incomes in the case of equity REITs or mortgage interest in the case of Mortgage REITs. On the other hand, the forces of demand and supply often cause a price increase in the case of publicly-traded REITs.

How much should I expect to pay in fees and charges when subscribing to a particular REITs?

Fund managers have the right to express their discretion in determining the amounts – if any – charged on new member entrants. They also set the annual management fee charged on every member’s assets under management. Most REITs, however, maintain some of the most transparent pricing structures and it is not hard to tell the different types of fees charged on both new and existing members for every trading session.

How much can I make with smartphone money making apps?

Yes, any incomes earned from your investments in a real estate investment trust is taxable. It, therefore, is imperative that you contact tax consultant for guidance on how to go about reporting the REIT income. Note that unlike most other stock market investment income that falls under the income tax, REITs and MLPs are treated as ordinary income.

How often should in expect the dividend earnings?

REITs are best known for their regularity in paying off dividend incomes. In most cases, they consolidate the rental, lease, mortgage interest, and other accrued investment incomes before distributing them to the REIT members as dividend income every quarter.

What risks do I expose my cash to by investing in REITs?

REITs aren’t immune to volatilities in the economy and this serves as their biggest risk. Your investment in a REIT is exposed to the market risks associated with the industry in which your REIT invests in. For instance, most equity REITs are exposed to such risks as the inability to achieve full occupancy and common real estate market volatilities. Mortgage REITs, on the other hand, are exposed to such risks as delayed mortgage interest and principal amount repayments and even total defaults.

 

Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Trading comes with severe risk. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.
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Edith is an investment writer, trader, and personal finance coach specializing in investments advice around the fintech niche. Her fields of expertise include stocks, commodities, forex, indices, bonds, and cryptocurrency investments. She holds a Masters degree in Economics with years of experience as a banker-cum-investment analyst. She is currently the chief editor, learnbonds.com where she specializes in spotting investment opportunities in the emerging financial technology scene and coming up with practical strategies for their exploitation. She also helps her clients identify and take advantage of investment opportunities in the disruptive Fintech world.