More Support for REITs

"There are a lot of good opportunities," said Larry Antonatos, portfolio manager at Chicago-based Heitman LLC.

Equity REITs currently offer dividend yields of 7.3% on average, while mortgage REIT yields average 19.9%, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts in Washington.

Certain property sectors offer even bigger yields, with commercial mortgage REITs generating 30.6% and lodging REITs producing 14.7% on average. Yields on individual REITs vary from as low as 3.0% at Public Storage Inc. (PSA) of Glendale, Calif., to as high as 48% at RAIT Financial Trust (RAS) in Philadelphia.

"The reason some of the yields are so high is because there is perceived risk in the marketplace that some of them won't be able to pay the dividends," said Sam Lieber, chief executive of Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC in Purchase, N.Y.


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