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5 REITs Paying Over 5 Percent

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With cap rates compressing and the continued Fed policy of accommodating monetary economics (by maintaining artificially low interest rates), it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a REIT with attractive yield. Accordingly, economic growth remains uncertain and most believe that Fed is expected to stick to by its guns to maintain the same monetary policy into 2015.

So where can you find a REIT with moderate yield? No, I did not say high yielder; I'm simply not a fan of the leveraged mortgage REITs and I cannot come to terms with recommending shares of Annaly Capital (NLY), American Capital Agency (AGNC), or Armour Residential (ARR). I get especially agitated when I see folks pushing the magnified use of leverage, without considering the number one rule of investing: protecting your principal at ALL COSTS.

Remember folks, equity REITs have outperformed the mortgage REITs over all of the last five decades and we are seeing many of the well-known mortgage REITs cut dividends again. The writing is on the wall: consistency, reliability, predictability, and durability -- all keys to an intelligent REIT investment.

Some of you know I have five kids, but that is not the reason I like the five handle. I simply think that a five-percent dividend yield is good risk-adjusted return today. Given the considerable time I spend with my readers -- many retirees -- I know firsthand that a three-percent dividend yield is not much income today. It barely buys you enough income to live, unless you cut off your internet, phones, TV, and newspaper subscriptions.

Moreover, it's the consistency in assets that generate passive income that makes REITs so powerfully attractive. The compounding effect is an ideal way to generate sustainable wealth and it beats the heck out of working hard. As the legendary investor John D. Rockefeller said: "The only thing that gives me pleasure is to see my dividend coming in."

Realty Income (O) just crossed over the five-percent line. The Triple-Net REIT, based in Escondido, recently increased its common stock dividend to 18 cents per share from 15 cents per share. Also, this increase marks the seventieth time that the stalwart REIT has grown its dividend since listing on the NYSE in 1994. Let's not forget that the "Big O" pays monthly dividends so the frequency of the love is something that sets the blue chip in a mailbox of its own.

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