REITs are enjoying strong growth in their 50th year despite the uncertain economy and the deep downturn in real estate in general. For instance, in 2009 the Dow Jones Equity All REIT Total Return Index had jumped 31% after a calamitous 2008 compared with a 25% rise in the S&P 500. REITs' flexibility has proven to be key, says Steven A. Wechsler, NAREIT's president and CEO. "REITs will react quickly to a downturn," he says. "In private real estate, it's a slower process -- appraisers have to look at value. Public REITs get priced every day. And real-time pricing and liquidity on the stock market is what leads the way out of a recession."
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