Celebrating 50 Years of REITs and NAREIT: Steven A. Wechsler

Sept. 14, 2010 marked the beginning of the 50th anniversary year of celebration of the U.S. REIT industry. Fifty years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation that created a new approach to income-producing real estate investment "“ a manner in which the best attributes of real estate and stock-based investment are combined.

This special commemorative section of REIT.com was created to help celebrate this historic milestone.

REITs, for the first time, brought the benefits of commercial real estate investment to all investors "“ benefits that previously had been available only through large financial intermediaries and to wealthy individuals.

Over time, investors responded to this new opportunity, and listed U.S. REITs today constitute a more than $300 billion equity market with an average daily trading volume of about $4 billion. Unlisted REITs in the U.S. now manage assets of more than $70 billion and are adding another $7 billion annually. Outside the U.S., REITs and listed property companies constitute another $700 billion plus, comprising a listed REIT and real estate investment universe of more than $1 trillion.

REITs in the U.S. and increasingly around the world now regularly provide investors with meaningful dividends, portfolio diversification, valuable liquidity, enviable transparency and competitive performance.