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Recently, the SEBI chief endorsed diversifying investing avenues by leveraging REITs and InvITs. The world of real estate and infrastructure investment can be alluring, promising stable returns and potential for growth. However, for many individual investors, the high entry barriers and complexities of directly owning these assets can be discouraging. This is where Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) come into play, offering an accessible and potentially lucrative way to participate in these sectors.

This blog delves into the world of REITs and InvITs, exploring their functionalities, key differences, and factors to consider before investing. By the end of this journey, you'll be equipped to make informed decisions about whether these investment vehicles align with your financial goals.

What are REITs?

Imagine owning a slice of a shopping mall, a luxurious hotel, or a bustling office complex – all without the hassle of property management or hefty down payments. That's the magic of REITs! These are essentially companies that own and operate income-generating real estate properties. They pool funds from investors and invest them in a diversified portfolio of real estate assets.

How REITs work

REITs function similarly to mutual funds. Investors purchase shares in the trust, essentially becoming partial owners of the underlying real estate portfolio. The trust then generates income through rent collected from tenants, which is then distributed to investors in the form of dividends. This allows investors to enjoy a steady stream of income without the direct responsibilities of property ownership.

Types of REITs

The REIT landscape encompasses a variety of investment options catering to different preferences:

  • Equity REITs: These are the most common type, owning and operating income-producing properties like office buildings, shopping malls, and residential apartments.
  • Mortgage REITs (mREITs): Instead of owning properties, mREITs invest in mortgages and other real estate debt instruments. They generate income from the interest payments on these mortgages.
  • Hybrid REITs: As the name suggests, these combine features of both equity and mortgage REITs.

Benefits of investing in REITs

  • Accessibility: REITs open doors to real estate investment for individuals with limited capital. You can own a piece of a diversified portfolio with a relatively small investment compared to buying a whole property.
  • Liquidity: Unlike directly owned real estate, REITs are traded on stock exchanges. This allows for easier buying and selling of shares, providing greater liquidity for investors.
  • Dividend Income: A major advantage of REITs is their focus on regular dividend payouts. The mandatory distribution requirement (typically around 90% of taxable income) ensures a steady stream of income for investors.
  • Diversification: REITs offer an excellent way to diversify your investment portfolio beyond traditional stocks and bonds. They can provide exposure to the real estate market without the risks associated with owning a single property.

Things to consider before investing in REITs

  • Market Volatility: Like any stock, REIT share prices can fluctuate based on market conditions. Investors should be prepared for potential ups and downs.
  • Interest Rate Sensitivity: REITs can be sensitive to interest rate changes. Rising interest rates can make borrowing more expensive for REITs, potentially impacting their ability to acquire new properties and distribute dividends.
  • Underlying Property Risk: The performance of a REIT ultimately depends on the performance of the real estate it owns. Factors like vacancy rates and rental income fluctuations can affect overall returns.

What are InvITs?

Similar to REITs, InvITs (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) provide an alternative route for investors to participate in the infrastructure sector. They function as collective investment vehicles that pool funds from investors and invest in income-generating infrastructure projects such as roads, power plants, telecommunication towers, and renewable energy assets.

How InvITs work

InvITs operate by acquiring completed and operational infrastructure projects. They generate income through user fees, tolls, or other revenue streams associated with these projects. This income is then distributed to investors in the form of regular units (similar to dividends in REITs).

Benefits of investing in InvITs

  • Steady Income: InvITs, much like REITs, are designed to generate stable and predictable income for investors. The long-term nature of infrastructure projects often translates into stable cash flows.
  • Hedge Against Inflation: Infrastructure assets are often considered inflation hedges. As the cost of living increases, user fees and tolls might rise, potentially leading to higher returns for InvIT investors.
  • Portfolio Diversification: InvITs offer an avenue to diversify your portfolio beyond stocks and bonds. They provide exposure to the infrastructure sector, which can be less correlated with traditional asset classes.
  • Tax Advantages: (depending on the specific country's regulations) InvITs may offer certain tax benefits to investors. For instance, some countries exempt dividends distributed by InvITs from taxation, making them an attractive option for tax-conscious investors.

Things to consider before investing in InvITs

  • Project Risk: The performance of an InvIT is directly linked to the performance of the underlying infrastructure projects. Delays, cost overruns, or changes in regulations can negatively impact cash flows and investor returns.
  • Lower Liquidity: Compared to REITs, InvITs tend to be less liquid. Their units may not be as actively traded on stock exchanges, potentially making it harder to buy or sell them quickly.
  • Limited Investment Options: Currently, the InvIT market is still evolving, with a smaller number of investment options compared to REITs. This may limit diversification opportunities for investors.

REITs vs. InvITs: what’s the difference?

While both REITs and InvITs offer similar benefits like portfolio diversification and steady income, there are crucial distinctions to consider:

  • Underlying Assets: REITs invest in real estate properties, while InvITs focus on infrastructure projects.
  • Maturity of Projects: REITs typically invest in completed and operational real estate assets. InvITs, on the other hand, may invest in both operational and under-construction infrastructure projects.
  • Income Generation: REITs generate income primarily through rents paid by tenants. InvITs earn revenue from user fees, tolls, or tariffs associated with the infrastructure projects.
  • Taxation: Tax treatment for REITs and InvITs can vary depending on the specific country's regulations. It's crucial to research the applicable tax implications before investing.

Choosing between REIT and InvIT

The optimal choice between REITs and InvITs depends on your individual investment goals and risk tolerance. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Investment Objective: Are you seeking steady income or capital appreciation? REITs may offer a better balance, while InvITs might be more suitable for income-focused investors.
  • Risk Tolerance: InvITs generally carry higher project risks compared to REITs. If you are risk-averse, REITs might be a safer option.
  • Liquidity Needs: If easy entry and exit from your investment are important, REITs with their higher liquidity might be a better fit.
  • Market Outlook: Consider your outlook on the real estate and infrastructure sectors. Invest in the sector you believe has better growth prospects.

Beyond REITs and InvITs: additional considerations

Before diving into REITs or InvITs, consider these additional factors:

  • Management Expertise: Evaluate the track record and experience of the REIT or InvIT's management team. Their expertise plays a crucial role in selecting and managing the underlying assets.
  • Distribution History: Look at the historical dividend or unit distribution record of the REIT/InvIT. Consistent distributions indicate a stable income stream.
  • Fees and Expenses: Be mindful of the fees associated with investing in REITs or InvITs. These can include management fees, transaction fees, and custodial charges.


REITs and InvITs offer compelling options for investors seeking exposure to real estate and infrastructure sectors without the complexities of direct ownership. By understanding their functionalities, key differences, and the associated risks and rewards, you can make informed investment decisions that align with your financial goals. Remember, thorough research, diversification, and a long-term perspective are crucial for navigating the world of REITs and InvITs successfully.

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