Investors long considered real estate to be the ultimate immovable, illiquid asset. Beginning in 1960 with the advent of REITs in the U.S., this age-old view has begun to change. REITs in the U.S. and many other parts of the world now make real estate investing easy and efficient, thanks to market liquidity.
The equities of companies that own portfolios of properties or engage in real estate financing are bought and sold on major U.S. stock exchanges. As the investor base for listed real estate has grown, average daily dollar trading volume in the U.S. has soared – from about $100 million in 1994, $1.5 billion in 2004 to more than $6 billion in 2014.
As a result of their liquidity, REIT and listed real estate equities have become the most efficient way for investors and investment managers across the globe to gain exposure to commercial real estate; an effective way for professional investment managers to manage their investment exposure to real estate; and a meaningful way to reduce the risk of illiquidity.