Companies in this industry primarily own and manage income-producing real estate such as retail, office, industrial, and multifamily residential buildings. Major US companies include American Tower Corporation, Equity Residential, Host Hotels & Resorts, Simon Property Group, and Vornado Realty Trust; major international companies include Icade (France), H&R REIT (Canada), Land Securities Group (UK), Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Hong Kong), and Stockland Corporation (Australia).
Outside the US, about 40 countries have established real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other countries are considering adopting REIT-like structures. There are more than 480 stock-exchange listed real estate companies (including REITs) worldwide, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT). Listed and non-listed REITs own about $1.6 trillion in real estate assets globally.
The US REIT industry includes more than 1,000 companies, about 190 of which are publicly traded, according to NAREIT. Industry size is measured by market capitalization and can vary significantly from year to year. Publicly traded US REITs had a market capitalization of about $990 billion as of August 2016.
Most REITs, known as equity REITs, own and manage income-producing real estate and constitute a subset of the real estate leasing industry. Equity REITs are distinguished from other real estate leasing companies by their IRS-sanctioned organizational structure, which offers tax advantages designed to attract investors. The REIT industry also includes mortgage REITs, which generate income for shareholders through mortgages on real estate rather than the real...