Many of the wealthiest families in American history, such as the Astors and the Trumps, built their wealth through real estate investing. There are numerous investment experts and articles upon articles pointing to real estate as building wealth more consistently than any other asset class. With real estate investments being more accessible than ever before, it’s time for you to consider incorporating real estate investment trusts into your client portfolios. Let’s take an in-depth look at REITs: types of REITs, benefits, risks and more.
As you can see in Figure 1, the composition of a household’s net worth often is anchored by real estate, whether in the middle class or ultra-rich. In Edward N. Wolff’s paper, “Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962 to 2016: Has Middle Class Wealth Recovered?”, the middle class’ primary source of wealth in 2016 was their primary residence (62%). The ultra-rich, on the other hand, have a much higher percentage of their wealth in business equity and other real estate (49%), while a small percentage of their wealth is in their primary residence (7.6%).
Through product innovation, gaining exposure to REITs has become a much more attainable and attractive option for the average investor. There have been significant advancements in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and separately managed accounts (SMAs) that make REITs a realistic and viable consideration.
Below, we look at some of the different REIT investment vehicles, the benefits and risks to investing in them, and some of the top performing REIT managers found in the PSN SMA database.
Each type of investment vehicle has its own risks; for example, an accredited investor may gain exposure to REITs through a limited partnership that includes tax benefits, however, they are also illiquid. Conversely, a REIT mutual fund is liquid and allows average investors the ability to gain exposure to the asset class; however, they are exposed to market risk.