BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Short-sellers are betting heavily against REITs -- and that's exactly why investors should be buying them right now. Since the floor fell out of the housing market back in 2008, investors have been fleeing real estate investment trusts (REITs) en masse. After all, REITs are the most direct way to get exposure to the troubled real estate market, right? Not exactly.
In reality, even though properties are the biggest chunk of any REIT's balance sheet, it's better to think of REITs as income-generation vehicles than a way to bet on housing prices. That's because, generally, REITs lease their properties with commercial lease agreements that limit renewal risks and don't leave the firms on the hook for unexpected maintenance costs or tax bills. That means that REITs tend to have predictable incomes that are obligated to be passed onto shareholders in the form of dividend payouts.
For income investors, REITs offer some of the most attractive yields right now.
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