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Complete Guide to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Australia

June 22, 2020

Real Estate Trusts in Australia (REITs)

Updated: February 2022.  Original post: November 2019.

Real estate trusts (REITs) are something I’ve mentioned in passing many times on the blog.

But today is the day I finally put pen to paper (or is it words to screen?) and delve right into this topic.

Real estate investment trusts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (literally).  We’ll look at the types of REITs available, the pros and cons, as well as the risks involved.  We’ll also look at what to look out for when you’re considering investing in REITs.


What are REITs and how do they work?

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are exactly as they sound – investment trusts that invest in real estate.  You’ll also see them called ‘listed property trusts’.  Again, they’re simply property investment trusts which are listed on the sharemarket.

A REIT’s purpose is to own and manage a portfolio of real estate for the benefit of shareholders (also referred to as unitholders).  This typically means investing in good quality properties with strong tenants and favourable lease terms, then passing the rental income stream on to shareholders.

As is common with property investing and business in general, REITs usually take on a certain amount of debt to grow their portfolio and/or enhance returns.  How a REIT manages its debt level is important and a risk which can bring them unstuck (more on this later).

So far, so good.  But why would somebody invest in REITs versus a regular company or an index fund?


The case for investing in REITs

Most of the time, an investor would invest in REITs as part of their portfolio – not all of it!  There are a few reasons why they might do this…

— An investor finds REITs interesting and they feel it’s something they understand.  So they may simply be more comfortable with real estate than other investments.

— REITs typically pay a higher yield (often 5-7%) which appeals to some investors.  And this rental income is generally more stable than the profits of a traditional business.

— REIT income can be tax-efficient.  Distributions often come with a ‘tax-deferred’ component, which means an investor will only pay tax on some of the income (this also reduces their cost base for tax purposes, resulting in higher capital gains tax later).

— REITs own the essential buildings that many of us use or work in every day.  These tangible assets are valuable in themselves but can also be repurposed into other uses.

— REITs structure their leases to include mandatory rent increases each year.  This is either a fixed rate like 3% per annum, or it could be CPI inflation +1-2%.  This offers higher certainty around future earnings and income for the REIT and the investor, while being a hedge against inflation.

— REITs are relatively low effort investments.  Not much changes from year to year, so there is generally less to worry about than shares in a typical business.

— Commercial real estate has huge economic value, and much of it is not available for investment on the stockmarket.

Currently, around 8% of the value of the ASX300 is made up of REITs.  An investor may want more exposure than this for various reasons.

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong allocation, so everyone has to make up their own mind.  Alright, now let’s look at the types of REITs that exist.


Retail REITs

The most common commercial property we’re all familiar with is Retail.

This includes your neighbourhood shops, large shopping centres such as Westfield and also ‘large-format’ (big-item) retailers like furniture stores, Bunnings Warehouse etc.  Here are a few specific examples of Retail REITs listed on the ASX…


Shopping Centres Australasia (ASX:SCP)

Owns a large portfolio of neighbourhood and regional shopping centres, with 95 properties in total across Australia and New Zealand.  Most of the portfolio is in the Eastern states.

They focus heavily on non-discretionary retail, meaning things people have to buy like groceries etc.  Given this approach, their main anchor tenants are the big supermarkets Coles and Woolies.  At the time of writing, Shopping Centres Australasia is trading on a dividend yield of 4.8%.


Scentre Group (ASX:SCG)

Owns and operates the Westfield branded shopping centres across Australia and New Zealand.  Given the size, location and value of Westfield centres, this REIT is currently the 17th biggest listed company in Australia!

These tend to be created as ‘destinations’ with lots of entertainment and dining options, in addition to regular retail shops.  Scentre Group has an eye-watering 11,000 tenants across its portfolio, offering a diverse pool of rental income.  At the time of writing, Scentre Group is trading on a dividend yield of 4.7%.


Aventus Retail Property (ASX:AVN)

Aventus owns 20 ‘large-format’ retail centres, mostly in eastern-states metro areas.  They have a decent spread of tenants including Nick Scali, Harvey Norman, Bunnings Warehouse, Baby Bunting and many more.

Like most REITs, Aventus looks to add value through sensible acquisitions and re-positioning its current portfolio to its highest use.  They have a high occupancy rate of 98.4%, meaning very little space is currently empty.  Right now, Aventus trades on a dividend yield of 5.8%.


Office REITs

If you work in an office, there’s a chance the building is owned by a real estate investment trust.

It could be a listed REIT, a private fund or simply owned by a private investor.  But most businesses these days tend to lease their premises.  Here’s an example of a listed REIT that invests purely in office buildings.


Centuria Metropolitan Office REIT (ASX:COF)

Centuria owns 20+ high-quality office buildings worth over $1 billion, located in metro locations around Australia.  Over 70% of their rental income comes from multi-national, ASX listed and government tenants.

Centuria invests mostly in well-located fringes of cities, to avoid areas which can be saturated with office space, like the CBD.  They also have a reasonably high occupancy rate of over 98%.  Currently, Centuria trades on a dividend yield of 7.4%.  (full disclosure: I currently own this REIT)


Diversified REITs

Instead of focusing on one type of commercial property like offices, or factories, some REITs actually build a diversified portfolio to get access to multiple property types.

This can be valuable since then it is no longer reliant on the performance of one property type doing well and it’s rental income is spread out across a larger pool of assets.


Charter Hall Long WALE REIT (ASX:CLW)

This trust owns over 500 commercial buildings around Australia worth over $7 billion.  Its portfolio is diversfied with its assets spread amongst various property types: industrial, retail, offices, hostpitality, and so on.

A large proportion of buildings are leased to blue-chip tenants such as governments, multi-national and ASX-listed companies.  The average lease expiry is 12.2 years, meaning there’s a long horizon of locked-in income.  It trades on a dividend yield of over 6%.  (full disclosure: I currently own this REIT)


Self-storage REITs

An unusual but relatively simple investment proposition.  Self-storage REITs develop storage spaces of various shapes and sizes and then rent them out to collect an income.

These are used by people to store possessions and/or valuables, those moving house and increasingly, by small businesses to store goods.


National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR)

National Storage owns over 160 self-storage facilities across Australia and New Zealand worth around $2 billion.  Their properties offer self-storage to individuals and businesses, vehicle storage, as well as climate-controlled wine storage.

National Storage has been expanding its portfolio in recent years with over 35 centres either built or acquired throughout FY 2019.  Occupancy rates are typically lower in this type of REIT at around 80%, though they are targeting occupancy of 85-90% over time.  National Storage currently trades on a dividend yield of 3.6%.


Industrial REITs

This category includes production plants, distribution centres and factories.  These are large and important pieces of real estate, but can also be riskier compared to an office building for example.  That’s because it’s less common for two different manufacturers to need the same style and size of industrial property, for example.


Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP)

Owns a portfolio of 45 industrial properties around Australia worth in excess of $1 billion.  Key tenants include Woolworths distribution centres, Visy packaging, Australia Post and Toll logistics.

As with Centuria’s office REIT, this is the largest purely industrial rent-collecting REIT on the ASX.  Centuria Industrial REIT has an occupancy rate of 96% and their portfolio value has grown strongly in recent years.  It currently trades on a dividend yield of 4.5%


Hotel REITs

By now you’ll recognise there are REITs for every possible category of property!

Another one is those which own hotels or pubs and then rent those buildings back to the operators of those businesses.


Hotel Property Investments (ASX:HPI)

HPI is the owner of 43 pub and accommodation assets, which are almost exclusively located in Queensland.  These properties used to be owned by Coles Group, who are now the major tenant in a joint-venture between Coles and another party.

The occupancy rate is 100% and the average rental increase across the portfolio is currently 3% per annum.  HPI is looking to increase its accommodation offer and look to create further income from underutilised land on its properties.  Currently trading on a dividend yield of 5.6%.


Petrol station REITs

Another property-type that we use and drive past without thinking much about.

Someone owns those well-located income-producing properties, where people fill up with petrol and grab some food or coffee!


Dexus Convenience Retail REIT (ASX:DXC)

DXC owns a portfolio of around 80 properties which are petrol stations and adjoining convenience food outlets.  These are predominantly in metro areas with 57% based in Queensland and the rest spread across the rest of Australia.

Major tenants include Puma, Caltex Woolworths and 7-Eleven.  The portfolio has a 100% occupancy rate and very long leases, with 78% of leases locked in until 2030 or later.  In addition, nearly all leases contain 3% annual rent increases.  AQR is currently trading on a dividend yield of 6.1%.


What about REIT indexes?

By the way, none of these are recommendations.  I’m simply providing some examples.  And that brings up another point, if you want to buy REITs but have no interest in choosing your own, you can always buy a REIT index fund.


Vanguard Australian Property Securities Index (ASX:VAP)

VAP holds a portfolio of the 30 biggest REITs from the ASX300, weighted by market cap.  The index has a spread across different REITs such as retail, industrial, office, diversified and others.  VAP is managed by Vanguard for a fee of 0.23% per year, at the time of writing.

As tends to be typical of all things in Aussie markets, the REIT index is heavily weighted towards a few big names.  The top 10 holdings make up 84% of the fund.  As a set-and-forget way to invest in REITs, it’s a decent choice.  But I wouldn’t personally invest in VAP (as it currently exists) for two reasons:

— The fund owns property developers and property fund managers, as well as traditional REITs.  These firms are more business-like with often wildly fluctuating profits, rather than simply rent-collecting REITs with reliable income streams.  If I want to invest in REITs specifically, I want them to invest in buildings and collect rent – nothing fancy.

— With a current yield of 4.3%, this seems low (implying expensive assets) for what is generally a higher yielding asset class.  A simple Aussie index fund has a similar yield (and greater when franking credits are included), which comes with far greater diversification and arguably better growth prospects.


Dow Jones Global Real Estate Index (ASX:DJRE)

This is an interesting idea for Aussie investors.  Especially those who want some diversification but also like getting a decent income from investments.

DJRE is an index fund managed by State Street for a fee of 0.50% per year.  The fund has over 200 holdings, spread across many developed countries like the US, Japan, UK, Singapore and Australia.  Like VAP, it’s also diverse by category with industrial/office, retail and residential being the largest three sectors.

Importantly, to make it into this index, a REIT must ‘have at least 75% of the company’s total revenue derived from the ownership and operation of real estate assets’.  In plain English, most of their earnings have to be rental income – not funds management fees or development profits.  I really like this criteria.

That’s good for investors who want to invest in broadly diversified real estate and simply collect the rental income.  DJRE currently trades on a dividend yield of 3.7% (or it appears 3.2% after fees).


Other types of REITs

Believe it or not, there are other forms of property trusts too.  Those which invest in childcare centres, healthcare centres and some which invest across different property types.  There are also unlisted REITs.

Many big real estate investment firms offer direct investment into in their unlisted funds, which are typically much smaller and invest in a couple of holdings or sometimes a single large property.  Such companies include Charter Hall, APN Property Group and Centuria.

So, you get the idea by now – there is no shortage of options out there!  Which brings us to the next important area to cover.


The risks of investing in REITs

The first risk to consider is that of single company risk.  Even though most REITs own a diverse portfolio of real estate, it’s still run by one management team.  Like any management team, they are human and will make errors from time to time.

As you were reading, many of you were probably thinking, “but isn’t this just like picking stocks?”  And the answer is, more or less, yes.  We discussed REIT index funds being an option to solve this issue.

But as I see it, investing in a couple of REITs is unlikely to be as hit-and-miss as choosing individual businesses looking for the next big growth idea.  Because even if the real estate is poorly selected or managed, those assets will always have genuine value in the marketplace.  The land and buildings can be re-purposed by a property developer, for example.

Let’s be clear, there are real risks.  But the value of real estate helps reduce the risk of a REIT investment being a complete disaster.  So what should we consider when looking at individual REITs?


Leases and rents

Unlike residential, commercial property tends to have much longer leases.  Businesses sign up to leases for multi-year periods : 5 years, 10 years, and even longer in some cases.

As a lease expires, if the tenant doesn’t renew, that leaves the REIT with no income from that property.  And these vacancies tend to take a lot longer to fill than your average suburban house!

If multiple properties fall vacant at once, this can be a big hit to a REIT’s income.  So carefully managing leases is a top priority.  They monitor this by tracking what’s known as the ‘weighted average lease expiry’, or WALE.  It’s a bit of a mouthful but it’s very important!  The WALE tells us, how long the current portfolio’s leases/rental streams are locked in for.

Obviously, these will vary between different REITs, and a longer WALE is much desired.  For example, Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) currently has a WALE of 4.3 years.  In contrast, Dexus Convenience Retail REIT (ASX:DXC) has a WALE of 11.4 years.  Big difference!

Another important aspect of leases is contracted rental increases.  Most REITs will have a good portion of their leases with built-in rent increases of 2-4% per annum.

Either that, or rent increases will be based on CPI inflation +1-2%.  It’s important to check this out to get a feel for the likely rate of earnings/dividend growth.


Tenants and ability to pay rent

REITs are a cashflow play.  So it’s critical to have good quality tenants who can continue paying their rent rain, hail or shine.  Clearly, financially strong tenants are a lower risk proposition than Bob’s Budget Botox who is just starting out with a loan from his Uncle.

Government departments and large ASX-listed companies are generally good tenants to have.  And you’ll see many REITs proudly mentioning their largest tenants to show off the quality of their portfolio.  This info can be found in presentations on their websites.

COVID Update:  During COVID lockdowns many REITs were hit hard, as businesses struggled and asked for rent relief (backed by the government’s push for this to occur).

In many cases, especially retail, REITs were forced to accept a lower income, and as a result they had to reduce dividends to shareholders.  Things are recovering now, but this is a new risk that wasn’t on anyone’s radar before.

Some REITs listed here didn’t skup a beat and were absolutely fine, but others felt quite a pinch.  As you’re researching, see how the REIT fared during COVID to see how vulnerable (or not) t may be to future shocks like this.


Debt problems with REITs

REITs around the world got caught up in the debt binge of the mid 2000s.  Many were highly leveraged with loans which they couldn’t refinance when credit seized up during the GFC.  As a result, a number had to offload properties at substantial discounts and cancel dividend payments for a period of time.

This destroyed confidence and shareholders were badly burned.  In fact, the Aussie REIT index fell by over 80% during the GFC!  The mess was eventually cleared up and these days REITs are typically much more conservative with debt than before.

Currently, most REITs have debt levels in a range of 20-40% of the value of their portfolio.  This debt is easily serviced by rental income, and in this environment, taking on debt to grow the portfolio increases their earnings as rental yields are comfortably higher than interest rates.

Thanks to low and falling interest rates, REITs have had a tailwind for a number of years.  Interest costs have fallen considerably which has boosted earnings and fuelled higher dividends.

When rates rise again someday, this will act as a drag on earnings growth.  So, even REITs with good leases may struggle to grow their dividend at the rate you expect, if rates were to begin rising.


Something to remember

By the way, there’s absolutely no requirement to venture into the land of REITs.  If you own shares in an Aussie index fund, you already have a decent level of exposure.

REITs currently make up 8% of the ASX300.  So buying shares in VAS, for example, means around 8% of your savings are going into various real estate investment trusts.

And if you’re an LIC investor, you don’t miss out either.  While they all differ, the old LICs each own at least a few REITs in their portfolio.  For example, Whitefield has around 10% of its portfolio in REITs.


Final thoughts on real estate investment trusts (REITs)

REITs can provide a solid and tax-effective income stream.  They’re underpinned by valuable real estate and have built-in rent increases.  But they’re certainly not without risk.

For most of us, REITs are relatively easy to understand and can provide a high yield in a low interest rate environment.  For retirees or those paying very little tax, that’s pretty desirable.  As a side note, REIT income would soak up excess franking credits if the tax rules on franking refunds changes in the future.

At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice whether to invest directly into REITs or not.  If they genuinely interest you, start researching.  If you prefer to keep it simple and focus on your main investments, that’s cool too!  Either way, it’s probably best that REITs don’t make up a huge part of your portfolio.

We may not own our REITs forever, but right now we’re happy owning some as they’re relatively predictable and provide an attractive level of growing income.  And that helps keep the lights on around here, as we enjoy early retirement 😉

What are your thoughts on REITs?  Let me know in the comments!

By the way, if you’re interested in the spreadsheet I use to keep track of my annual dividend income over the years, you can download a copy of it below.


31 Replies to “Complete Guide to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Australia”

  1. Hi Dave,

    Another top post. I wish you published a week earlier as I just sold some SCP to buy VAP! I may have bought DJRE had I read this beforehand. I’ve held and reinvested in SCP since its divestment from WOW (how I got into SCP) and it’s done incredibly well since, and I’m happy to be a long term holder.

    I bought into VAP mainly because I wasn’t aware there so many REITs in the Australian index (had never heard of Charter Hall or Cromwell before, for example), and was impressed that many of these REITs have international exposure – something you didn’t mention, which I think could be considered by people if they want some bonus international exposure.

    For me, the VAP purchase is a set, reinvest and forget thing – I won’t be topping up anymore – to complement my strategy of regularly buying into LICs and broad ETFs. Happy to take a slight hit to yield and slightly higher MER for a fund of 30 REITs with global exposure. I’m in the process of converting individual holdings into broad LIC/ETF holdings, though I still want some thematic ‘plays’ like property, emerging markets etc.

    I also wanted a bit more property exposure to reduce the bank-heavy focus of LICs and ETFs – banks have just had a terrible week, and I think it will only get worse with these fines – it won’t end with Westpac, NAB has previously self-reported AML/CTF shortcomings which haven’t been dealt with yet. I do hope the LICs start to reduce their bank exposure.

    I wonder what Thornhill thinks of the banks and bank-heavy LICs now that dividends and franking credits have started dropping with the banks? It suspect it will affect dividend growth going forward.

    By the way, excuse me if it’s already mentioned somewhere, but how old are you, and what is your allocation between personal holdings and super funds holdings? Your ~$21,000 2018-19 dividend income impressed me (though I assume it’s two people?).

    Cheers mate!

    1. Hey Ivan, thanks for the comment. Nice pick with SCP it has done pretty well and it’s a solid REIT.

      The bank holdings of LICs have been reducing over the last couple of years naturally as the banks have underperformed. AFIC is about 20% banks and Argo is about 17% and reducing. As they invest elsewhere banks will continue to be a smaller part of the portfolio, but there does come a time then become cheap and worth buying into again. But that’s up to LIC management to figure out!

      I doubt Thornhill would care to be honest. Different sectors will perform better/worse at different times. That’s why a diversified portfolio is the best move, which the LICs have. You’ll see more info about me in this post. Short story is we’re FI and switching from property to shares. I’m 30 at the moment, super makes up around 15% of total net worth.

  2. Hi Dave,
    Another great post. i invested in BWP 6 years ago and it’s returned nearly 170% with DRP , which they stopped this year. It has been quoted by some brokers at 40% over valued. i was thinking of taking out my original stake and putting it in VAS. Or just letting it run the dividend payout is now about 9% on the original price which makes it hard to decide what to do

    1. Hey Chris. Nice work on BWP, I’ve looked at it in the past. It certainly does look overpriced based on its yield, NTA and growth outlook.

      It’s up to you of course, but remember that what you paid 6 years ago shouldn’t sway your decisions today. All that matters is what happens with those two investments from today’s prices going forward. The cash you have tied up in BWP needs to be weighed against where else it could be, keeping tax in mind of course. Hope that helps.

      1. Hi Dave,
        just checked share sight and the annual return is 22.5% per year which is pretty good. Think i’ll see what happens next divi payment.

  3. Hi,
    “As a side note, REIT income would soak up excess franking credits if the tax rules on franking refunds changes in the future.”

    Could you expand on how this works?

    1. Hi Larry. Well, if franking refunds are scrapped, investors who receive fully franked dividends from shares and are on a low tax bracket will have franking credits left over which are not refunded. These tax credits could still be used to reduce tax payable on other investments. Hope that makes sense.

  4. Fascinating summary, thanks for the effort and info. As a Barefoot Investor member I have been a fan of REITs for years, although he has gone cold on RFF lately he still recommends several others, provided they are the right (conservative) price. And most are approaching that lately. He had a wonderful ride with BWP. The regular compounding power of dividends paid quarterly is particularly appealing for many investors, myself included 🙂 Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks for the support! Gotta love that regular income stream 😉

      I’m not aware of which REITs Barefoot recommends but as a group they’ve done very well over the last 5-8 years and now look a bit expensive. Having said that they should continue to pay a good level of dividends!

      1. It’s a friendly concept for investors daunted by the share market, which I know sounds odd. But the idea of buying an asset and getting regular returns over time is comfortably familiar. As opposed to hoping it goes up in price, so to speak ????????

        1. Yeah I’m totally with you there. As long as the investment is decent is should increase in value over time anyway. In the meantime, the income helps many investors stay the course which is the important part 🙂

  5. Good post Dave, I was hoping you’d do a Dave analysis on REITs one day and here it is!

    I’ve owned VAP since April 2016. This is one ETF that I will only buy when there is a dip in price and for the most part it has occurred roughly every 9-10 months though lately it hasn’t budged. I top it out at 10% of the portfolio (although my REIT exposure is higher than this when I factor in HPI, BWP, VAS, AFI and MLT). I basically won’t buy VAP unless the price sinks to about $75/ share. I just plugged the numbers into Sharesight and so far VAP has returned 5.15% pa capital gain and 5.84% pa in distribtuons for a total of 10.4% pa. So not bad and yes, it’s been a rising market, so lucky there. But I have no intention of buying this ETF at current prices. Cheers

    1. Dave — a follow-up to the info above.

      I compared VAS with VAP this morning. Identical apart from VAP holding Charter Hall Social Infrastructure REIT and not Charter Hall Education Trust (VAS). Both hold 30 REITs. Right now VAS is 7.17% REITs.

      Then I looked at my returns (CAGR) from April 2016 by importing *every* transaction into Sharesight. I have set VAS to DRP and with VAP I bought in the “dips” five times.
      — VAP return = 10.75% p.a. (about an even split between CG and distributions)
      — VAS return = 13.47% p.a. (CG about 2% higher than distributions)

      So there doesn’t seem to be much point in keeping VAP apart from some protection against franking credit refunds being removed one day and my marginal tax rate falling below 30%.

      1. Thanks Scott! That’s interesting. If you look over the longer term (20 years+) the property index has shown similar returns to the ASX300 from memory (could be wrong). Vanguard’s website would have the data.

        The main reason to keep VAP in my mind is if you want a higher weight to REITs than what you get from VAS, LICs and the individuals you have. Decide on an allocation and let that drive your decisions – looking at short term return dates and little bits of information here and there will just give you a headache lol.

        1. Hi Dave – thanks for that. I sold VAP this past week, but wouldn’t you know it … right after I sold it, it shot up $2.30/ share. Sod’s law strikes again. Grrr

          I also liked saying goodbye to VAP in the interest of reducing and simplifying the number of holdings I have. Still too high at 20 but slowly working it down.

  6. I would love to know why there are no residential property REITs. Surely this is the most in demand type of property at the moment? But there seems to only be private companies that construct and own residential property.
    Also you missed out on rff rural funds group, that owns farming land.
    Good article, had some really clear points.

    1. I say there are no residential property REIT’s because there is no money in it! If residential property was a good investment, do you think Satterley and Peet and Mirvac and all these developers would be selling off the land?

      You money is better spent elsewhere.

    2. Thanks Dan. That’s easily answered… because with only modest gearing the returns from residential are woeful. Rental yields after costs are around 2-3% for most cities in Australia. Gearing these the same as commercial which yields 5-7% simply makes no sense. Most companies you’ll see in the residential business are developers, not long term investors. Regular Aussies are happy to hold these low yielding assets for the tax savings and anticipation of capital gains. The corporate world focuses on cashflow however, so that’s the key difference.

    1. Cheers Mrs Flamingo, glad you liked it! Only time will tell and it depends on your personal goals I suppose. I personally try to only add new holdings that I’d be happy to hold for a long time, and find this think useful – avoids adding new investments just because they look interesting or cheap or whatever and ending up with a complex and scattered portfolio.

  7. Excellent food for thought, Dave. Almost had me looking into them for trade opening tomorrow until you mentioned Whitefield has around 10% of its portfolio in REITs. I’m big on WHF already which means I’m already big on REITs without trying. How good are LICs!?!

    1. Cheers SOL. Yeah it’s always worth a look at what they hold so get a feel for how your money is being invested 🙂

  8. hoy Hoy. thanks for the re visit Dave! might be a silly question but to REITs have fees/mer? I’m struggling to find any info? (looking into clw myself!)

    1. REITs are often run like a company, so they do sometimes report an official MER, but often not. The best way to check this out is looking at their annual report and looking at their income/expenses breakdown which can give you an idea of the fee % (when measured against market cap) if you’d like to look at it that way.

      I’ve looked occasionally but it’s not something I worry too much about. Given its a large real estate portfolio with management + acquisitions + strategy involved, the fees look unattractive compared to an index fund/low cost LIC 😉

    1. Hey Steve. Each REIT will be different, but a few I follow are reporting slightly lower earnings due to rate rises. On the other hand, higher inflation will mean higher rent rises coming through over the next year or two (many leases are linked to CPI), which will counteract the rate rises somewhat.

  9. Great summary on the A-Reits. In the case of international investors, what is the tax rate on distributions? Also, what would be the taxation in case of capital gain?

    1. Cheers! My understanding is taxation for international investors will depend on where the investor is filing a tax return and the specifics to that country and individual. I don’t have any insights in that area.

  10. Hi Dave,

    I trust you are well. I am just wondering if you are still owning REITs on your portfolio?

    At the moment I have a small proportion of my investment on REITs (less than 10% of my portfolio)
    and the rest are invested on the Index and LICs.

    I’ve been thinking of selling my shares on REITs due to the uncertain conditions and the rising of interest rate even though they are still giving me a very attractive dividends. 🙂

    Do you think the REITs is still a good investment at the moment? or what are you thought on the future of REITs


    1. Hi Sugi. I still own my REITs for now, but I will probably sell them sometime over the next few years, mostly to simplify my portfolio further.

      There has been uncertain conditions and rising rates over the last couple of years, which is why REITs have done poorly. In my view, selling now for the same reasons doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given those things are already now factored in to the prices. This has been a weak period for REITs overall, but as with all things, that will change and at some period they will outperform. I think good commercial property will do well over the next decade or so in Australia given strong population growth and not a whole lot of building happening. Other stuff may perform much better though, I have no idea 😄

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