REITs, or Real Estate Investment Trusts, were created by Congress in 1960 to allow average investors the opportunity to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate. To qualify as a REIT and enjoy preferential tax treatment from the IRS, a REIT must annually distribute at least 90% of its taxable income in dividends to its shareholders. In other words, REITs "pass through" most of their income directly to shareholders and in turn, pay no taxes on this income at the REIT level. In the same way shareholders benefit by owning stocks of other corporations, shareholders of REITs earn a pro-rata share of the income produced through ownership of real estate.
A REIT is a company that owns and operates income-producing real estate such as office buildings, apartments, shopping centers, hotels, and warehouses. Many of these REITs are public companies and listed on national stock exchanges (NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ), while others are not publicly listed and are referred to as "non-traded" public REITs.
Since the year 2000, more than 2 million investors have purchased upwards of $80 billion in non-traded public REIT shares. These REITs in turn have purchased billions of dollars of income-producing real estate for their shareholders.
Non-traded public REITs are intended to be long-term investments and shareholders are advised in advance that REIT shares have limited liquidity. Given the large number of shareholders of non-traded public REITs, some shareholders will at some point need to liquidate their REIT holdings. REITbid helps these shareholders sell their shares in an effective and efficient manner.
The list to the right identifies a number of the largest non-traded public REITs. For each REIT listed, REITbid has created a REIT Profile containing information for buyers and sellers to consider:
From this information, buyers and sellers can determine how shares are being valued by the REIT if the NAV is provided, and by the secondary market if past secondary market trading has occurred. They can also determine historic dividend yields and to what degree dividends have been covered by the REIT's cash flow (FFO).