Cash In on Offbeat REITs

Companies of all stripes woo investors by becoming real estate investment trusts.

What do publicly traded prison companies, cloud-computing firms and billboard operators have in common? All suffer from real estate envy.

Such companies, as well as others that you wouldn't call traditional property businesses, are seeking to become real estate investment trusts. And with REITs recently yielding 4.3%, on average, income-hungry investors are eager to snap them up. (For an explanation of how REITs differ from regular companies, including their special tax advantage, see Why You Need REITs.)

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Elizabeth Leary
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Elizabeth Leary (née Ody) first joined Kiplinger in 2006 as a reporter, and has held various positions on staff and as a contributor in the years since. Her writing has also appeared in Barron's, BloombergBusinessweek, The Washington Post and other outlets.