REITs continued to reward income-seeking investors in the first month of 2016. At Jan. 31, the dividend yield of the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index was 4.47 percent, and the dividend yield of the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index was 4.00 percent. The FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REITs Index posted a dividend yield of 12.78 percent in January. In comparison, the Jan. 31 dividend yield of the S&P 500 was 2.34 percent.
Public listed REITs paid out approximately $42 billion and public non-listed REITs paid out approximately $4 billion in dividends during 2014—the last full year for which data is available. On average, 67 percent of the annual dividends paid by REITs qualify as ordinary taxable income, 17 percent qualify as return of capital and 16 percent qualify as long-term capital gains.