With investor demand for dividend income increasing, assets in global real estate investment trusts (REITs) have quadrupled so far this year to $2.52 billion in assets through the end of April, Bloomberg reports.

The number of countries offering REITs today is more than two dozen, noted Jack Foster, managing director of Franklin Resources' fiduciary global advisors division. Franklin just over a week ago launched a global REIT, the Franklin Global Real Estate Fund.

The United Kingdom recently proposed legislation to introduce REITs in 2007, and Germany is currently considering similar legislation.

"Investors like REITs because they get that high income," Foster said. "Governments like REITs because they get clarity on the companies, and they get to tax the real estate effectively."

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