REITs continue to beat the S&P 500, according to NAREIT, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. In the first half of 2011, U.S. REITs were up almost 10%, compared to 6% for the S&P 500.

For the year ended June 30, 2011, the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index was up 33% percent and the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index was up 34% percent compared to the S&P 500’s 31% gain.

REITs also extended their track record of outperforming the broader equity market over longer periods. Over the decade ended in June, the All REITs Index delivered a total return of 10% and the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index delivered 11% compared to the S&P 500’s total return of 3%. The FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index also outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-, and 35-year periods ended June 30.

Income-seeking investors should consider REITs, as dividends have accounted for more than 60% of the trusts’ total performance, said NAREIT President and CEO Steven Wechsler. “Their proven ability to provide reliable income has made REITs a key element of the investment strategies of both younger investors who are building portfolios and retirees who are relying on them to meet their expenses,” he said.

The FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index’s cash dividend yield was 4.32% at June 30 and the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index’s yield was 3.44% compared to 1.92% for the S&P 500.

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