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Finding Upside in Real Estate’s Downturn

By Ben Steverman - 2011-09-27T18:19:45Z

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Stocking Up on REITs

Benjamin Sullivan, financial planner at Palisades Hudson Financial Group, encourages clients to put 7.5 percent of stock holdings in real estate, usually through mutual funds that hold real estate investment trusts, or REITs. Sullivan uses the Morgan Stanley Institutional U.S. Real Estate Fund (MSUSX) and the T. Rowe Price Real Estate Fund (TRREX). In addition to providing dividend income, REITs can be bought and sold cheaply and quickly, while private real estate holdings can tie up money for years, he says. The disadvantage of U.S. REITs these days: They look "very richly valued," says Gregory Peterson, director of investment research at Ballentine Partners. From March 2009 to September 2011, the MSCI U.S. REIT Index rose 140 percent.

Photograph by Jin Lee/Bloomberg News