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Nearly 40 million Americans invest in REITs

REITs@50: Industry Reflections, Constance Moore of BRE Properties

09/24/2010 | By Matthew Bechard

Former NAREIT Chair Constance Moore, president and CEO of BRE Properties, Inc. (NYSE: BRE), says one of the major gains made by the industry and NAREIT over its history has been in educating both retail and institutional investor to the benefits of liquidity that are gained through investing in REITs.

Over the past 50 years, Moore says that NAREIT has played a key role in keeping REITs relevant not only with investors but also with policymakers in Washington.

As a company, BRE first joined NAREIT in 1970 and the company has grown along with the industry and the association.

"NAREIT has helped us understand and frame the issues as we go about operating our business," Moore says.

The most significant change Moore has witnessed in the industry was the passage of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, which, among other provisions, for the first time allowed REITs to be internally advised and managed.

Even more broadly, Moore says that REITs have changed the way investors view real estate.

"All we have to do is go back 15 months ago to look at what was going on in the markets, and the benefits of liquidity and the benefits of access to capital that REITs had," she says. "The REIT model is alive and well, and having access to many types of capital during times of stress bodes really well for REITs going forward."

Moore says that future should be very positive.

"REITs are only going to get bigger," Moore says. "The business model has been validated."