Fifty years and two months after President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower signed tax legislation aimed at extending the excise tax on cigars that also created the real estate investment trust, NAREIT officials celebrated by ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 15.
REITs now constitute a more than $300 billion equity market with an average daily
trading volume of about $4 billion. The trusts have given investors dividends, liquidity, transparency and performance, Steven A. Wechsler, president and CEO of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Washington, said in a video message to members marking REITs' golden anniversary.
Outside the U.S., listed real estate companies make up another $700 billion.
While the bell-ringing was a couple months past the Sept. 14 anniversary, it was right on time to mark NAREIT's annual convention, REITWorld 2010, in New York Nov. 15-17.
Institutional investors will have to wait awhile before they can celebrate a golden REIT anniversary. Although Mr. Eisenhower's cigar bill allowed individuals to buy stocks of REITs 50 years ago, pension plans and institutional investors have been able to invest in REITs since only 1994.