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WASHINGTON, DC-A growing real estate success story–one of the few–in the current environment has been the surprising ability by many REITs to raise equity. NAREIT is reporting that Q2 was in fact a banner quarter for REITs, which raised more capital via secondary equity offerings in the first half of 2009 than in all of 2008.

Specifically, there have been 50 secondary equity offerings through June 30, raising a total of $15.7 billion. The majority of activity took place in the second quarter, with 41 secondary equity offerings that raised $13.4 billion. By comparison, there were 76 secondary offerings in all of 2008, raising a total of $14.5 billion.

NAREIT reports that lodging REITs gained 74.6% in Q2, and are up 7.9% for the year. In general all REIT sectors were up in the second quarter of 2009, with other major gains being seen in the retail (38.8%), diversified (33.6%) and office (30.1%) sectors.

REITs had a strong second quarter, as investors bought shares in the sector on hopes the worst is over for the economy and the real estate market, Frederic Ruffy, options strategist with the New York City-based WhatsTrading.com tells GlobeSt.com.

The iShares Dow Jones Real Estate Fund, which is an exchange-traded fund that includes more than 80 REITs and real estate companies, rose 27.3% during that period, he notes.

“The interest in the group comes after massive global intervention to help stimulate economic growth and as grim economic news has turned into ‘mixed’ economic data.” Last Thursday for example, the market–and REITS–came under pressure on poor jobs data. “However, lasts Wednesday, REITS as measured by IYR rose for a seventh consecutive trading session after the day’s economic data included news of a 0.1% increase in pending home sales.”

There has been much debate over what has fueled REITs’ successful performance, with many weighing in on the side of their long term fundamentals. Ruffy, however, believes that another strong quarter will be driven by economic news. “In other words, the performance will be data driven.”

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