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REITs are on the rise again. They've raised billions of capital in the past few years, and many are seeing strong returns.

In fact, NAREIT reports that the total return of the US REIT market outpaced the broader equity market in the past year. With returns of 11.29%, REITs beat out the S&P 500's 8.54%. All the while, REITs are still raising significant dollars. They raised $21.1 billion in the first quarter of 2012, including $10.6 billion of equity, NAREIT reports. That compares to $51.3 billion in all of 2011.

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