Brad Case

WASHINGTON, DC—This has been a comeback year for REITs. New figures released from NAREIT show they continued to outperform the S&P 500 for the month of April, for the fourth consecutive month.

On a total return basis, the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index rose 2.88% in April, the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index increased 2.99%, and the FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REITs Index was up 1.86%. The S&P 500 rose by 0.74%.

For the first four months of the year, the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index was up 11.70%, the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index was up 11.76%, and the FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REITs Index was up 13.23%, compared to the S&P 500′s gain of 2.56%.

Self-Storage was the industry’s top-performing sector year-to-date, with an 18.83% total return.

Other REIT market sectors that have done well in the first four months of the year include healthcare, which is up 16.84%; Apartments, up 16.40%; the home financing segment of the FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REITs Index, up 15.36%; office has risen by 13.61%; and retail has increased by 12.62%, led by regional malls’ 13.10% increase.

Brad Case, senior vice president for research and industry information at NAREIT, attributes REITs’ ascendency to the strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals in a video interview posted on NAREIT’s website.

“When interest rates go up, it’s because the macro economy is strengthening, and that’s certainly the situation we are in now,” he said. “When the macro economy is strengthening, REIT returns typically go up, because strength in the macro-economy means higher occupancy levels, better rent growth, and therefore property values go up and also dividends for REIT investors go up.”