Publicly traded REITs continue to lead the recovery in the commercial real estate sector judging from the presentations made at this week’s NAREIT conference in New York City.

Last year, most companies were focused on shoring up portfolio metrics and getting rid of non-core assets. Today, the focus for many REITs has switched to making opportunistic acquisitions, particularly through off-market transactions with private owners.

Noting that REITs delivered total returns of 31.40 percent over the past year, outperforming S&P 500, Brad Case, senior vice president of research and industry information with NAREIT, says that “investors have recognized that REITs are going to be the winners [in this cycle] and will be able to acquire properties.”

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