Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

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A real estate investment trust is a trust that pools the capital of investors to invest in various forms of real estate, usually income producing assets that are structured to generate regular distributions of cash. REITs seek out investment opportunities and actively manage real estate assets. REIT investors are not directly investing in real estate property, but instead own REIT units that are publicly traded. As such, REITs are attractive to those investors who wish to participate in the real estate sector without the illiquidity of direct ownership. Canadian REITs are generally investment trusts designed to acquire real estate assets for the benefit of their unitholders. REITs offer a wide variety of investment choices either by way of a focused investment strategy (REITs which invest only in apartment buildings, for instance) or a more diversified approach (REITs which focus on a mixture of commercial/industrial properties). As REITs have grown in popularity among investors, the range of sector-specific REITs has increased, including those focused on the hotel industry, the health care/nursing industries and on commercial and residential properties. In addition to providing relatively stable and predictable income, a portion of which is typically tax-deferred, REITs may provide, in the opinion of the Co-Advisors, an inflation hedge as rental rates tend to move with inflation over the long-term. REITs also benefit from the positive leverage inherent in borrowing at rates that are lower than the returns which can be earned on income-producing properties.

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