IndexIQ this week launched a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) for investors looking for exposure to small-cap real estate stocks and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The fund, called IQ U.S. Real Estate Small Cap ETF (NYSE Arca: ROOF), includes mortgage REITs, retail REITs and office REITs which combined make up more than half of the fund's underlying index.

Company officials said residential, hotel, diversified and specialized REITs -- including medical, warehousing and self-story) will also be included in the fund.

"Performance among both small- and large-cap REITs took a big hit at the start of the financial crisis in 2007, but since 2009, REITs have seen a performance resurgence, with small-cap offerings far outpacing the performance of their large-cap counterparts," IndexIQ CEO Adam Patti said in a statement. "In today’s environment, investors are hungry for income producing assets."

"With ROOF, ETF investors now have the potential to capture a robust new income stream and significant capital appreciation by isolating small cap US real estate exposure; and they can do this in a transparent, liquid, tax efficient way," he added.

The fund looks to replicate the performance of the IQ U.S. Real Estate Small Cap Index (IQSMRES), a float-adjusted market cap-weighted index that is intended to track the overall performance of small capitalization US real estate companies and has an expense ratio of 0.69%, company officials said.