By Abby Schultz, Special to CNBC.com
NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- Third time lucky? Returns for equity real estate investment trusts, REITs, skyrocketed nearly 28 percent each of the last two years. The question for investors is: Can that possibly happen again? With the economy finally starting to gain traction, it's a valid question. A stronger economy is good for REITs, because it leads to better occupancy rates, more financially secure tenants and higher property values. But as the economy improves, interest rates also rise -- as they have for the most part this year -- and that increases the cost of borrowing for REITs as they buy properties.
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