REITs@50: Industry Leaders Reflect on Impact of REITs

11/10/2010 | By Matthew Bechard

In celebration of the 50th anniversary year of President Dwight Eisenhower signing legislation that created REITs, a number of noted industry leaders participated in a series of video interviews for In this video, these participants share their thoughts on the industry that was born with the stroke of Ike's pen.

NAREIT's 2011 Chair Bryce Blair, chairman and CEO of AvalonBay Communities (NYSE: AVB), says REITs have proven themselves to be an attractive method by which investors can own commercial real estate.

"When you look at REITs, whether it is over 50 years or over the Modern REIT Era, it is hard to dispute whether it is income, return or liquidity an objective assessment would show that REITs have performed very well and have a very solid place in investors' arsenal of investment options," Blair says.

Long-time REIT investor Rick Imperiale, president of Forward Uniplan Advisors, says that history shows that putting REITs in a portfolio added to the total return and also reduced the overall volatility in the portfolio.

The emergence of the listed REIT market paved the way for increased transparency in commercial real estate and gave rise to research firms like CoStar Group and a bevy of industry analysts, says David Shulman, professor at Baruch College.

"At the end of the day the most important thing for the REIT industry is to continue to modernize and advance the REIT approach to real estate investment," according to Mark Decker, Sr., managing director and head of real estate at Robert W. Baird & Co. and former president of NAREIT.

Also looking forward, 2011 NAREIT First Vice Chair Don Wood, president and CEO of Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT), says that despite all the strides that have been made over the past 50 years, there is more work to be done.

"Our industry still needs to become a much bigger part of the investment world," Wood says.

This video is part of a series of articles and videos centered around the 50th anniversary of REITs in the U.S. Visit for additional anniversary coverage and a detailed interactive timeline of the last half century. Also, be sure to read the November/December 2010 anniversary issue of REIT magazine either in print or on