June 19, 2013
The old adage that opportunity arises from adversity seems apt for the evolution of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Canada. Marking a 20-year milestone this month, the collective real estate ownership investments have evolved into a market with about 37 TSX-listed trusts, a market capitalization worth at least $72-billion, and assets worth more than $100-billion. Despite a recent dramatic pullback, portents of the demise of this roaring sector are premature.
Patricia Koval, a senior corporate lawyer at blue-ribbon law firm Torys LLP, is among the architects of the first REIT in Canada. In a recent report she co-authored, Ms. Koval seems at a loss of superlatives to explain the strength of REITs – “a phoenix rising from the ashes of the then-embattled Canadian real estate mutual fund industry” – that continues to attract investors.
"Canadian investors have demonstrated with REITS, as they did with royalty trusts and income trusts, that they have a virtually insatiable demand for yield," she says in the report. "For as long as interest rates remain at near historical low levels, we expect that initial public offerings of new REITs will continue."
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