New NAREIT Chair Says Educating Investors on REIT Investing His Top Priority

NAREIT Chair David Neithercut, the president and CEO of Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWorld 2014: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

Neithercut's tenure as NAREIT's chair began this month. He described the current state of the REIT industry as “terrific,” noting that the absolute market cap of the REIT industry is approaching $900 billion and that the total enterprise value of the industry is approaching $2 trillion.

“It’s a great time for NAREIT,” he said. “The REIT space has done extraordinarily well against every other index. It’s a terrific time to be in the REIT business, and I’m really excited about the year ahead.”

In terms of his goals as chair of NAREIT, Neithercut said he hopes to “continue to explain the REIT approach to real estate investing.” That entails more interaction with institutional investors to further discuss the value of investing in liquid real estate, according to Neithercut.

“There’s a lot of money out there that’s invested in real estate that would be better served by investing in the REIT model in public securities,” Neithercut commented.

Neithercut also previewed some of the potential issues facing the REIT industry in 2015. He singled out REITs’ access to capital as an area to monitor. On a related note, Neithercut cited reforming the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) guidelines for investing in real estate as another priority in his tenure.

“For the space to grow, we need to continue to make sure that we have access to capital,” Neithercut said.

Additionally, Neithercut said NAREIT would continue to monitor the possibility of fundamental tax reform in Congress.

“We need to make sure that we continue to allow investors in REITs to get the benefits that were intended back when REITs were established by President (Dwight) Eisenhower back in 1960,” he said.