U.S. REITs continued to outperform the broader equity market in the first quarter of 2011. The total return of the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index was up 7.50% in the quarter, and the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index was up 6.80% compared to 5.92% for the S&P 500.
REITs delivered their first-quarter gains in spite of slightly negative returns in March. The FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index was down 1.28% in the month, and the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index was down 1.38%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.04%.
On a 12-month basis ended March 31, 2010, the total return of the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index was up 25.02% and the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index was up 24.34%, significantly outpacing the S&P 500’s 15.65% gain in the period.
The U.S. REIT industry’s gains in the first quarter came on top of near 28% gains in both 2010 and 2009, years in which the S&P 500 gained approximately 15% and 26% respectively. At the end of this year’s first quarter, equity REITs were up 205% from their market cycle trough in March 2009, but still remained 18% below their peak in February 2007.