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Real Estate: Reits are back in business

$16 billion in Reit offerings have been made in Q2; Reits eye distressed debt opportunities

Since the second quarter of this year, the public equity real estate sector has been back in business. In the second quarter, more than $16 billion of real estate investment trust offerings have hit the markets, and performance is up 50% from its March 6 bottom. In a disastrous slide since the peak at the end of February 2007, Reits recorded their worst year on record in 2008. The FTSE All Reit index was down 37.8% for the year.

"Reits tend to lead the property markets," says Brad Case, vice-president of research and industry information at Nareit (the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts). "Property prices were still increasing in 2007 when Reit investors started to get out and Reits fell. Investors were aware that property markets would come down when debt dried up. Similarly now, Reit investors are aware that, although commercial property prices are still likely to come down until around 2011, there is a lot of opportunity to be had by investing in Reits."

Distressed opportunities
Real estate public companies realize that there are distressed opportunities to be had now leading up to the property market bottoming out – and investors are fully aware of that.

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