FTSE NAREIT All REIT Total Return Index rose more than 4.5% in October, pushing REITs' year-to-date returns to 23.9%. That compares to a 7.8% return delivered by the S&P 500. These results, says Brad Case, NAREIT's vice president for research and industry information, track long-standing trends in the REIT space, which have delivered average annual returns of 11.4% for the past 10 years. There are a number of factors driving returns in this current economy, he adds, from the increases in trade and manufacturing activity to the uptick in business and leisure travel.

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