NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- My kids love to play rock, paper, scissors. You know how it works: Rock beats scissors, and paper beats rock, and scissors beats paper. There are no tie-breakers, and there is always a winner.That same principle applies to REIT investing. There are the primary asset sectors of housing, office, retail and industrial. All of these sectors provide needed space for their occupants, and some are considered better than the others at different moments. As we all saw, during the great recession, necessity-driven sectors were in highest demand. Core survival-based categories of food, shelter and clothing became more relevant for investors, as their fixation on sustainable income and dividends became critically important. Conversely, successful investors learned that the strongest sources of differentiation are found in those companies with the most sustainable business models, built on repeatable sources of income.
So, is the demand for shelter peaking out? No. According to Chilton, "apartment REITs are trading at a discount to other REIT sectors on an NAV basis at a time of very robust funda¬mentals. We will watch closely for the point at which the fundamentals shift back in favor of the single-family housing product, but we feel confident the multifamily growth story isn't over. Accordingly, we remain overweight the sector in our REIT composite." Several of the larger players that I like in the sector are Essex Property Trust ( ESS - Get Report) and Camden Property Trust ( CPT - Get Report). Essex has a market cap of around $5.59 billion with a current price of $153.49. The West Coast-focused REIT has paid consistent and increasing dividends for 19 years, and the current yield is 2.87%. Camden, with a market cap of $5.81 billon, has a current price of $69.45 and is paying a current dividend of 3.23%.