A REIT is a company that owns and manages commercial properties that produce rental income and is contractually obligated to return the majority of its income (usually 90% or more) to its investors. In exchange for this guarantee, governments grant REITs a trust status which allows investors to avoid the double taxation of dividend income (i.e., in both the hands of the corporation and individual investors). While REITs were historically dominated by property categories such as Residential (e.g., apartments), Offices and Retail space, additional REIT categories include Mortgages, Data Storage, Entertainment complexes, Healthcare, Hospitality, and Timber. REITs can either be sold privately or publicly through securities exchanges. REITs are typically total-return investments, offering investors a combination of modest capital long-term capital appreciation with high dividend yields. Variations on REIT corporate structure include UPREITs and DownREITs.
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