REITs that own and manage self-storage buildings, apartment complexes, shopping centers and office buildings are enjoying a resurgence, even as prices of residential homes have languished. The average real estate fund is up 2% this year, while the average diversified U.S. stock fund has declined 8%. "Investors have first been attracted by the relatively defensive aspects of REITs, which include the quality of their earnings and relatively high dividend yields," said David Harris, REIT analyst for Lehman Brothers.

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