The four freestanding retail REITs posted total returns of -1.13 percent in the first quarter. That followed an excellent 2010 when total returns rose 37.37 percent. That pace of growth in 2009 was 25.93 percent.

The freestanding retail REIT total return index at the end of February stood at 987.38 and is 123 percent since bottoming out at 443.02 in February 2009. Freestanding REIT total returns, in fact, are 38 percent higher than the boom peak of 713.75 reached on October 2007.

The freestanding retail REIT price index, meanwhile, has risen 95 percent since February 2009 from 143.09 to 278.71 and is now 11 percent above its boom peak of 251.21 reached on October 2007. The dividend yield for freestanding retail REITs stood at 5.41 percent at the end of February.

Source: NAREIT