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Your guide to real estate investment trusts

When it comes to the world of investment, there are a multitude of ways to grow your money. From stocks and bonds to mutual funds, the list is extensive. But have you ever thought about investing in real estate without actually buying a property? 

Enter REIT. Let’s unravel what a REIT is and why it might be an enticing option for you.

What is a real estate investment trust?

The full form of REIT is “Real Estate Investment Trust”, which is a unique investment tool that allows individuals to invest in portfolios of large-scale properties. Just like you’d invest in stocks or bonds, REITs provide you with a way to invest in real estate. 

The catch here is that instead of buying the property, you’re buying a share in a company that owns or finances real estate.

Why consider REIT?

  • Diversification: One of the key principles of investment is not to put all your eggs in one basket. REITs allow your portfolio to have a mix, adding real estate to the list.
  • Dividends: REITs are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders annually. This means you can expect regular income in the form of dividends.
  • Accessibility: Not everyone can buy a commercial building or a mall. But with REITs, even a small investment can get you a piece of the pie.

REIT real estate types

Real estate is a vast domain. REITs can be categorised based on the type of real estate they invest in:

  • Residential REITs: Focus on apartment buildings and multifamily residential communities.
  • Retail REITs: These invest in shopping malls, storefronts, and retail establishments.
  • Healthcare REITs: Cater to hospitals, nursing facilities, and medical centers.
  • Industrial REITs: Concentrate on warehouses and industrial facilities.
  • Office REITs: As the name suggests, they are all about office buildings.

The above are just a few. There are REITs that focus on hotels, timberlands, and more.

Real estate investment Ttrusts (REITs) vs traditional real estate investment

You might wonder, why not just buy a property? Well, there are a few reasons:

  • Liquidity: Properties can take months, even years to sell. REITs, being traded on major stock exchanges, can be bought or sold almost instantaneously.
  • Management: Owning a property means you have to maintain it. With REITs, the trust takes care of everything.
  • Entry point: The amount of money required to start investing in REITs is much lower than buying an entire property.

Trust investing benefits

We’ve touched upon this before, but to put it in simpler terms, investing in trusts like REITs means you’re pooling your money with other investors. This collective fund is then used to buy properties or invest in real estate ventures. The advantage?

  • Professional management: REITs are run by professionals who know the ins and outs of real estate.
  • Scale: With collective investment, the trust can acquire larger properties or multiple properties at once.
  • Transparency: Being publicly traded, REITs have to follow stringent reporting rules, ensuring transparency for investors.

REIT companies and their presence in India

REIT nameCore focus
Brookfield India Real Estate TrustCommercial
Embassy Office Parks REITCommercial
Mindspace Business Parks REITIndustrial
Nexus Select TrustCommercial

A Glimpse into the future of REITs

As urban landscapes continue to evolve and the needs of our growing population shift, REITs are poised to adapt and thrive. Here are some trends to watch out for in the REIT world:

The rise of green buildings

Buildings that conserve energy, utilize renewable resources, and have a smaller carbon footprint are not only good for the planet but can also bring in higher rental yields due to their rising demand.

Tech-infused real estate

Whether it’s smart homes equipped with the latest gadgets or office spaces optimised for connectivity and remote work, tech-forward properties might be the next big thing in REIT portfolios.

Residential shifts from urban to suburban

With the growth of remote work and the search for more spacious living arrangements, this trend might continue, and REITs that capitalise on this could benefit.

Understanding the risks

Property values can fluctuate, regulatory changes can impact the industry, and global events like economic downturns can affect returns.


With opportunities like REITs listed in India, the doors to real estate investment have been flung wide open, even for those who aren’t real estate magnates. 

Just remember, like all investments, it’s essential to do thorough research and possibly consult with a financial advisor before making any decisions. 


Is a REIT a good investment?

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) can be a solid investment choice for several reasons. First, they offer diversification by allowing investors to participate in real estate without directly owning properties. Second, REITs provide a steady income stream through dividends, as they are required to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders. Additionally, they have the potential for capital appreciation as property values increase over time.

How can I buy REIT in India?

To invest in REITs in India, follow these steps:
Brokerage account: Open a brokerage account with a registered stockbroker.
Demat account: Set up a demat account to hold your securities electronically.
Stock exchanges: REITs are listed on stock exchanges like NSE and BSE. Use your brokerage account to buy REIT units.
Mutual funds: Alternatively, consider mutual funds that include REITs in their portfolios.
IPOs: When available, participate in REIT initial public offerings (IPOs) to acquire units.

Do REITs pay monthly?

While most REITs pay dividends quarterly, some do offer monthly dividend payments. These monthly distributions can be advantageous for investors seeking more frequent income or those who prefer to reinvest dividends more regularly. However, it’s essential to check the specific REIT’s distribution schedule.

Are REIT stocks safe?

REIT stocks are generally considered relatively safe investments. However, like any asset class, they come with risks. Factors affecting their safety include:

Interest rates: REITs are sensitive to interest rate changes.
Market conditions: Their performance depends on real estate market conditions.
Diversification: Diversified REITs are safer than those concentrated in a single property type.
Tax considerations: REITs may not offer the same tax benefits as other investments.

How to pick a good REIT?

When selecting a REIT, consider the following:
Financial health: Look for low leverage (debt) and strong interest coverage.
Revenue growth: Assess growth in revenue and distribution per unit.
Lease structures: Favorable lease terms contribute to stability.
Management Team: A solid management team with a proven track record is crucial.
Diversification: Choose REITs that diversify across property types and locations.

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