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- February 1, 2018: Vol. 30, Number 2

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REITs underperformed broader stock market in 2017

by Loretta Clodfelter

The past year was a memorable one for equity markets, but listed real estate trailed the broader markets. U.S. REITs had a total return of 8.7 percent in 2017, according to the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index. That paled in comparison with the S&P 500 Index’s return of 19.7 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s rise of 25.2 percent in the past year — or the astonishing 1,365 percent increase in Bitcoin values during 2017.

The technology sector was a strong performer in 2017, and REITs adjacent to that sector performed especially well. Infrastructure REITs — a sector that includes cellular tower heavyweights American Tower Corp. and Crown Castle International Corp. — rose 35.4 percent in 2017, while data center REITs advanced 28.4 percent. Industrial REITs, which have benefited from an e-commerce boom, also outperformed in 2017, rising 20.6 percent.

By contrast, the traditional retail industry had a difficult year, and retail REITs ended the ye

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