REITs issued $37.5 billion in equity last year, according to NAREIT -- a record for the industry, topping the previous record of $32.7 billion raised in 1997. Analysts expect REITs to use the capital to pursue acquisitions. The year 2011 was supposed to be a banner year for acquisitions, but fiscal issues in the U.S. and Europe kept many REITs on the sidelines. CoStar reports that REITs made $34.6 billion in acquisitions last year, a 40% increase over 2010's volume.

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