New investors are rarely risk-hungry. Knowing that investment is like educated gambling in that luck can turn bad in a blink, they prefer to take it slow, establish balanced portfolios, and cultivate investments that are easy to liquidate if they get spooked. As a result, few beginner investors put money into real estate properties; most consider REITs, instead.
REITs, or real estate investment trusts, are securities invested in real estate property or mortgages and traded on major exchanges. An extremely liquid way to invest in real estate, REITs offer high dividend yields without the commitments (or headaches) of owning property directly.
Still, not every REIT is right for every investor, and new investors particularly should look for diversified REITs which allow balance and slow, reliable growth. Because most REITs specialize in a single property type, REITs for beginner investors can be difficult to find. To make it easier for newbies to get into REIT investing, here are the best diversified REIT stocks on the market:
W.P. Carey Inc.
W.P. Carey Inc. (WPC on the NYSE) is a global REIT, operating more than 900 properties in 19 countries — though two-thirds of those properties are in the U.S. The company’s portfolio is diverse, including primarily office and industrial properties but also significant portions of retail and warehouse space. Impressively, W.P. Carey maintains a 99.1 percent occupancy rate, claiming well-known tenants such as U-Haul and Marriott.
A triple net-lease REIT, W.P. Carey’s tenants are responsible for variable expenses, such as maintenance, building insurance, and property taxes. As with other net-lease REITs, W.P. Carey maintains long-term leases — between 10 and 25 years — with built-in rent increases. This minimizes income volatility, making WPC an excellent beginner REIT.
Vornado Realty Trust
Perhaps the largest REIT — not just of its kind but of all REITs — Vornado Realty Trust (VNO on the NYSE) focuses entirely on office and retail space in the New York City area, investing primarily in buildings in Manhattan. By doing so, Vornado has become the top operator of NYC street retail, notably holding many properties in coveted areas like Fifth Avenue and Times Square. New York is easily the one of the strongest real estate markets in the country — not to mention the world. In every decade, the value of New York’s Class A office buildings has doubled, proving Vornado’s strategy to be not just viable but exceedingly profitable.