The REITs revolution

National REITs and similar structures around the world

Knut UNGER, 2006

It is since about 2000 that the international market for tax-privileged publicly listed real estate companies started to explode. More and more countries since then have introduced vehicles which orientate on the US-model. Meanwhile some speak about the “REITs revolution”.

In June 2006 the “REIT week”, an annual conference organized by the US umbrella NAREIT focused on the growth of REIT industries outside the USA. The property market capitalisation of REITs today is 700 bn $US, speakers at the NYC meeting reported, - more than half outside US. Australia, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia have shown strong growth. “The aim is to create free flow of capital throughout the world”, a speaker stated. “We are only at the beginning.”1

Later in the year NAREIT published: “For U.S. investors in particular, investing outside of their domestic market now means they can gain exposure to emerging REIT markets in Europe and Asia. Based on the historic growth, performance and diversification benefits of the U.S. REIT market, this could offer some very interesting opportunities going forward.”

In the first seven months of 2006 private investors spent more on Real Estate Investment Trusts than in any period before. From January to July the transaction volume amounted to 47 billion US Dollar.

The return from REITs worldwide has more than doubled since the beginning of 2003.

Pension funds and insurers are among the biggest investors in REITs. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-largest US pension fund, plans to almost double the proportion of its assets invested in real estate to 11 percent in the next six years from 6 percent in 2006. Its investments last year included REITs in the US and France2.

National REITs and similar structures around the world

According to national law REITS have diverse names in the various countries.

CountryNameAcronymIntroduction in
USAReal Estate Investment TrustREIT1961
NetherlandsFiscale BelegginstinstellingFBI1969
AustraliaListed Property Trusts 1971
TurkeyGayrimenkul Yat *‘r*‘m OrtakligiREIT1989
CanadaReal Estate Investment TrustREIT1994
BrazilFundos de Investimento ImobiliárioFII1993
BelgiumSociété d’Investissement à capital fixe en immobilièreSICAFI1995
GreeceReal Estate Investment CompanyREIC1999
TaiwanReal Estate Investment TrustREIT2003
JapanReal Estate Investment TrustJ-REIT2001
KoreaKorean Real Estate Investment TrustK-REIT2001
SingaporeCorporate RestructuringREITCR-REIT2001
SingaporeReal Estate Investment TrustS-REIT2002
FranceSociétés d’Investissements immobiliers cotéesSIIC2003
HongkongHongkong Real Estate Investment TrustH-REIT2003
Russia  2003
Bulgaria  2004
IsraelKeren 2006
MalaysiaIslamic REIT 2006
U.K.Property Investment Fund (Project)PIFplanned 2007
GermanyDeutsche REITs (Project)G-REITplanned 2007
India  planned
PakistanIslamic REIT planned
DubaiIslamic REIT planned


2 Shanghai Daily, 2006-10-27.