Industry FAQs

What is a REIT?

REITs - or Real Estate Investment Trusts - are corporations that combine the capital of many investors to acquire or provide financing for income-producing real estate. A corporation must meet several requirements in order to qualify as a REIT: among other things, it must have a minimum number of shareholders and widely dispersed share ownership; it must satisfy various asset and income tests; and it must distribute annually at least 90 percent of its taxable income, excluding capital gains, to its shareholders. When a corporation elects REIT status, it is permitted to deduct dividends paid to its shareholders from its federal tax bill.

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What types of properties does a healthcare REIT own?

Healthcare REITs specialize in acquiring and owning healthcare-related properties such as seniors housing communities, outpatient medical buildings, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and research space. Healthcare REITs typically cannot operate the properties they own and, therefore, do not provide healthcare services.

You can find additional information on the various sectors that comprise the seniors housing and healthcare real estate industries at the following websites:

  • For REITs, visit the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) website at
  • For seniors housing & care, visit the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC) website at
  • For seniors housing advocacy & political action, visit the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) website at
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Why invest in a publicly-traded REIT?

  • Income & Long-term Growth. REITs provide competitive long-term rates of return that complement" the returns from other stocks and from bonds.
  • High Dividend Yield. Significantly higher on average than other equities, the industry’s dividend" yields historically have produced a steady stream of income through a variety of market conditions.
  • Liquidity. Shares of publicly traded REITs are readily converted into cash because they are traded" on the major stock exchanges.
  • Oversight. Independent directors of the REIT, independent analysts, independent auditors and the" business and financial media monitor a publicly traded REIT’s financial reporting on a regular basis. This scrutiny provides investors with a measure of protection and more than one barometer of the REIT’s financial condition.
  • Transparency. REITs whose securities are registered with the SEC are required to make regular disclosures, including quarterly and yearly financial reports.
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What is Funds From Operations (FFO)?

Funds From Operations (FFO) is a supplemental measure of a REIT’s operating performance. FFO is different from corporate "earnings" as typically reported by other companies. NAREIT defines FFO as net income (computed in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) excluding gains or losses from sales of real estate property, including gain on re-measurement of equity method investments, and impairment write-downs of depreciable real estate, plus real estate depreciation and amortization, and after adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures. FFO and normalized FFO allow investors, analysts and management to compare a REIT’s operating performance between periods and with the operating performance of other REITs without having to account for differences caused by unanticipated items and other events such as transactions and litigation.

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