The 16 shopping center REITs posted total returns of 2.94 percent in the first quarter. Last year, shopping center REITs posted total returns of 30.78 percent. In 2009, total returns fell 1.66 percent.

The shopping center REIT total return index at the end of February stood at 508.91 and is up 134 percent since bottoming out at 217.80 in March 2009. However, the index remains 37 percent below its all-time peak of 803.95 reached in February 2007.

The shopping center REIT price index, meanwhile, has risen 115 percent since March 2009 from 79.68 to 170.99 and remains 48 percent below its all-time peak of 329.00 reached in February 2007. The dividend yield for shopping center REITs was 3.38 percent at the end of February.

Source: NAREIT