What Is an Equity REIT?

What Is an Equity REIT?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

An Equity REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust, is a company that owns, operates, or finances income-generating real estate. They allow individuals to invest in portfolios of large-scale properties the same way they invest in other industries – through purchasing stocks. In return, REITs are legally obliged to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income as dividends to shareholders. Typically, Equity REITs generate their income by leasing space and collecting rents on the properties they own.

Related Questions

1. How do Equity REITs differ from Mortgage REITs?

While Equity REITs invest in and own properties, Mortgage REITs deal with the purchase of mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. They earn profits from the interest on these investments.

2. Who can invest in Equity REITs?

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Equity REITs are publicly traded on major stock exchanges, so anyone who can buy stocks can invest in Equity REITs. They are especially popular among income-focused investors due to their attractive dividend payouts.

3. What kind of properties do Equity REITs typically invest in?

Equity REITs can invest in a wide variety of real estate properties, including office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, and even large apartment complexes. Some are diversified, investing in various types, while others specialize in one specific type of property.

4. How risky are Equity REITs?

Like any investment, Equity REITs come with inherent risks. However, because they invest in real estate—an asset class that tends to rise over the long term—they are often considered less risky than other more volatile equity investments.

5. Are dividends from Equity REITs taxable?

In general, dividends from Equity REITs are subject to federal income tax. However, this can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each investor, such as their income level and whether the dividends are qualified. It’s always best to consult with a tax professional when dealing with investments and dividends.