One of the REIT industry's key achievements was the development of property-specific indexes, which gave institutional investors more comparative data about performance in the public market compared with the private, says Chris Lucas, managing director and senior REIT analyst with Robert W. Baird. "With the advent of the 1993 IPO boom, we were able to start breaking out the NAREIT Total Return and Equity REIT indexes," says Lucas, who headed NAREIT's research efforts from 1987 to 1997. Their development "really created a whole genesis for institutional investment in the marketplace." In general, he says, REITs have provided much more transparency in terms of their fundamentals as well as the real-time pricing mechanism, which is a major reason why they are becoming a larger and larger liquid industry.

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