SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) ¿ Sun Communities Inc. said Friday it expects 2009 funds from operations to grow up to 5 percent because of demand for affordable manufactured homes.

The real estate investment trust said it expects 2009 funds from operations, or FFO, in a range of $2.84 to $2.92 per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect FFO of $2.84 cents per share.

In 2008, the company reported FFO of $2.78 per share after heavy charges were excluded.

FFO, which adds such items as amortization and depreciation back to net income, is considered a key measure of strength for REITs because it provides a more accurate picture of cash performance.

The company cited its affordability as a factor in its guidance, with monthly costs ranging from $500 for smaller houses and land, to more than $1,000 for larger homes.

"As economic times become more challenging, our product experiences stronger demand which is why manufactured housing has often been characterized as recession-resistant," the company said in its earnings statement.

Sun owns and operates 136 manufactured housing communities. It reported fourth quarter 2008 FFO on Friday that, after excluding certain charges, slightly beat analysts' expectations.

The loss in fourth quarter funds from operations, or FFO, was $600,000, or 3 cents per share, compared with FFO of $4.5 million, or 22 cents per share, in the same period in 2007.

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