Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) | Summary and Q&A

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August 17, 2019
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Ben Felix
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Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

TL;DR

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) provide access to a diversified portfolio of real estate assets without the challenges of direct real estate investing. However, research shows that the risk and return of REITs can be explained by known factors already present in stocks and bonds.

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Key Insights

  • 💨 Real estate investment trusts (REITs) provide a way to invest in real estate assets without the challenges of direct real estate investment.
  • 😘 Adding REITs to a portfolio may offer diversification benefits, as they have historically had low correlation with stocks and bonds.
  • ✳️ Research suggests that the risk and return of REITs can be explained by known risk factors already present in stocks and bonds.
  • 🚕 Overweighting REIT exposure may add additional risk without increased expected return, and REITs can be tax inefficient.
  • 🧑‍🏭 Exposure to the risk factors of REITs can be gained through stock and bond ETFs, offering a potentially more efficient approach.
  • 🇨🇦 Vanguard's FTSE Canadian Capped REIT Index ETF, BMO's Equal Weight REITs Index, and iShares S&P/TSX Capped REIT Index ETF are some REIT products available in Canada.
  • 😘 Adding exposure to small-cap value stocks and lower credit bonds may be an alternative approach to accessing the factors that drive REIT returns.

Transcript

  • Real estate has historically been one of the best performing global asset classes. Real estate investment trusts, more commonly known as REITs, are a special type of fund that invests primarily in income-producing real estate assets. The income that a REIT earns flows to the unit holders and the unit holders also participate in the capital apprec... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are real estate investment trusts (REITs), and how do they differ from direct real estate investment?

REITs are funds that invest in real estate assets and provide investors with income and capital appreciation. Unlike direct real estate investment, REITs offer liquidity, diversification, and ease of management.

Q: Do REITs offer diversification benefits to a portfolio?

Research suggests that REITs have low correlation with stocks and bonds, indicating potential diversification benefits when added to a portfolio. However, their returns can be explained by risk factors present in stocks and bonds.

Q: Can exposure to the risk factors of REITs be gained through stock and bond ETFs?

Yes, research shows that the risk and return of REITs can be explained by known risk factors already present in stocks and bonds. Therefore, adding exposure to these factors through stock and bond ETFs may provide a more efficient approach.

Q: Are there any drawbacks to including REITs in a portfolio?

Overweighting REIT exposure may introduce additional risk without added expected return, as the returns of REITs can be explained by existing risk factors in stocks and bonds. Additionally, REITs can be tax inefficient, with high-income yields subject to taxation.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • REITs are funds that invest in income-producing real estate assets, providing investors with the opportunity to earn income and participate in capital appreciation without the challenges of direct real estate investment.

  • Adding REITs to a portfolio of index funds may offer diversification benefits, as REITs historically have low correlation with stocks and bonds.

  • Research suggests that the returns of REITs can be explained by risk factors already present in stocks and bonds, indicating that exposure to these factors can be gained through stock and bond ETFs.

  • Overweighting REIT exposure in a portfolio may introduce additional risk without added expected return, and REITs can be tax inefficient.

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