Economic Contribution of REITs in the United States

The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts® (NAREIT) commissioned EY to estimate the current economic contribution of all U.S. REITs (including public listed, public non-listed, and private REITs) in the United States. Today, REITs in the United States own nearly $3 trillion of gross real estate assets and public listed equity REIT portfolios included more than 190,000 properties at year-end 2014.

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  • The total economic contribution of U.S. REITs in 2014, the most recent year of complete information, was an estimated 1.8 million full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and $107.5 billion of labor income. The total economic contribution, or “footprint,” of REITs consists of the direct operations of REITs and related businesses in the United States, as well as the impacts from dividend and interest payments by REITs and REIT property improvement and construction investments.

The U.S. economic contribution of REITs extends beyond the direct operations of REITs and includes the indirect contributions of their suppliers and the induced contributions of businesses supported by the spending of REIT employees, bondholders, and shareholders. 

  • REITs directly employed an estimated 200,000 FTE employees who earned $11.7 billion of labor income in the United States. REIT supplier purchases and spending by REIT employees supported an additional 314,000 FTE jobs and $17.7 billion of earnings in the United States. In total, the economic footprint of U.S. REIT operations comprised 514,000 FTE jobs and $37.4 billion in labor income in 2014.
  • REIT activities also resulted in the payment of an estimated $44.0 billion of interest income and the distribution of $81.6 billion of dividend income by REITs in 2014. This interest and dividend income supported 346,000 FTE jobs earning $19.0 billion of labor income through the induced contribution of re-spending by REIT bondholders and shareholders. An additional $51.6 billion of interest and dividends was paid by REITs to the retirement accounts of U.S. residents, where it is available for future consumption spending.
  • REITs invested $55.9 billion in new construction and routine capital expenditures to maintain existing property in 2014. The related construction activity supported 366,000 FTE construction jobs that earned $23.0 billion in labor income. Purchases of goods from suppliers and consumer spending by construction and supplier employees contributed an estimated 555,000 FTE jobs and $36.1 billion in labor income in 2014.

The table below summarizes the economic contribution of REIT activities.
Total economic contribution of All REIT operations, dividend distributions, interest payments, and construction activities, 2014
Billions of dollars; thousands of FTE employees

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Please note: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Data should not be construed as investment advice and is provided for informational purposes only.