REITs outperformed S&P 500 in April at a rate of more than three times, according to NAREIT. Health care was the REIT industry's top performer with a 24% return. Other top performers are lodging and retail. Alexander Goldfarb, of Sandler O'Neill points to global monetary policies as one reason for REITs' performance. "Investors continue to scramble for total return, and that pressure is pushing up prices and thus compressing yield. REITs offer earnings and dividend growth as well as inflation protection," he says.

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