(Updated with Realty Income's increased dividend information.)
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Dozens of real estate investment trusts pay dividends to their shareholders, but it takes a special breed to consistently raise that payout year after year.
There are 14 REITs that increased their dividends every year for the last 10 years.
"It's of striking interest to note that a majority of REITs with the highest dividend growth that past 10 years had some of the best share appreciation as well," Gregory W. Genovese, president of Pacific Valley Realty Capital, told TheStreet.The winning dividend-paying all-star REIT is Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT - Get Report), an equity REIT based in Rockville, Md. that specializes in retail and mixed-use properties, mostly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as in California. Federal upped its shareholder dividend every year for the past 43 consecutive years, an impressive feat. Most recently, the REIT raised its payout by a penny per share to 67 cents, payable Oct. 15 to common shareholders of record as of Sept. 23, according to its second-quarter earnings report. Federal is among REITs that "stand-out and have navigated differing market conditions with exemplary prowess," Genovese said. "Investment history proves to us that those with strong management, well thought-out business plans with the ability to be flexible enough to augment strategy and tactics and do not get seduced into overleveraging during times of loose monetary policy win time and time again." Firms like Federal and other REITs that made TheStreet's list "have been able to incorporate the use of taking advantage of opportunities quickly, and stay true to their long-term conservative goals evidenced by their outstanding management and track records." Here then is the rest of the list, ranked by years of consecutive increases, from smallest to greatest, according to data from DividendInvestor.com.