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A Comparative Anatomy of REITs and Residential Real Estate Indexes: Returns, Risks and Distributional Characteristics

  • John Cotter

    (School of Business, University College Dublin)

  • Richard Roll


Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are the only truly liquid assets related to real estate investments. We study the behavior of U.S. REITs over the past three decades and document their return characteristics. REITs have somewhat less market risk than equity; their betas against a broad market index average about .65. Decomposing their covariances into principal components reveals several strong factors. REIT characteristics differ to some extent from those of the S&P/Case-Shiller (SCS) residential real estate indexes. This is partly attributable to methods of index construction. Our examination of REITs suggests that investment in real estate is far more risky than what might be inferred from the widely-followed SCS series.

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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201008.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201008
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  1. Cotter, John & Stevenson, Simon, 2007. "Modeling Long Memory in REITs," MPRA Paper 3500, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Young, Michael S & Graff, Richard A, 1995. "Real Estate Is Not Normal: A Fresh Look at Real Estate Return Distributions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 225-59, May.
  3. Joseph Gyourko & Donald B. Keim, 1992. "What Does the Stock Market Tell Us About Real Estate Returns?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 20(3), pages 457-485.
  4. Joseph Gyourko & Edward Nelling, . "Systematic Risk and Diversification in the Equity REIT Market," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 11-94, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  5. Tim Bollerslev, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 1986/01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  6. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:4:p:1449-1496 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Colin Lizieri & Stephen Satchell & Qi Zhang, 2006. "The Underlying Return Generating Factors for REIT Returns: An Application of Independent Component Analysis," Real Estate & Planning Working Papers rep-wp2006-12, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  8. John Cotter & Kevin Dowd, 2011. "Extreme Spectral Risk Measures: An Application to Futures Clearinghouse Margin Requirements," Working Papers 200516, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  9. Amit Goval & Ivo Welch, 2004. "A Comprehensive Look at the Empirical Performance of Equity Premium Prediction," NBER Working Papers 10483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Chan, Su Han & Erickson, John & Wang, Ko, 2002. "Real Estate Investment Trusts: Structure: Structure, Performance, and Investment Opportunities," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195155341.
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