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Research - JANUARY 13, 2020

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REITs return 0.6% in December, 28.7% in 2019

by Loretta Clodfelter

In December, REITs were nearly flat, returning 0.6 percent, according to the FTSE Nareit All Equity REITs Index. For the full year, the index tracked a total return of 28.7 percent.

REITs significantly underperformed the broader stock market in December. The S&P 500 Index had a 2.9 percent return last month. In 2019, the S&P 500 Index had a return of more than 30 percent.

The strongest REIT sectors in December were infrastructure REITs, rising 6.9 percent, and lodging REITs, rising 5.2 percent.

The infrastructure REIT sector is dominated by firms that specialize in telecommunication towers. The largest infrastructure REITs — American Tower Corp. and Crown Castle International Corp. — had one-month returns in December of nearly 7.4 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.

Trends in the hotel sector are likely to support lodging REIT performance.

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