REITs@50: Industry Reflections, Eugene Landy of Monmouth and UMH Properties Inc.

The REIT approach to real estate investment will continue to take hold around the globe, according to industry pioneer Eugene W. Landy.

Landy, who serves as president and chairman of Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corporation (NYSE: MNR) and chairman of UMH Properties Inc. (NYSE: UMH), has been involved with the REIT industry almost from its beginning in 1960. He sat down with during REITWorld 2010: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT to reflect on the evolution of the industry as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

"The thing I see on the horizon is the internationalization of REITs," Landy said. "There are large pools of capital all over the world, and these pools of capital will flow to where they're needed."

Landy said he foresees greater convergence in the global REIT market eventually.

"I'm very confident that you're going to see international REITs buying U.S. REITs and U.S. REITs investing overseas," he said. "It will be one international economy."

Landy touted the benefits that securitization of commercial real estate has provided to investors and industry stakeholders.

"You create value by taking an illiquid asset and making it liquid," he said. "The liquidity has value, so that people can invest in real estate and it's marketable."

In that respect, REITs' greatest contribution to the commercial real estate market has been their impact on the cost of capital.

"REITs have provided a pool of capital and badly needed liquidity," he said. "We have better buildings in a more liquefied market, so the tenants benefit and the entire economy benefits."