(CNN Money) – Real estate has been one of the best performing assets since President Obama took office.
No, we’re not talking about regular people’s homes. The biggest gains have come from so-called real estate investment trusts — REITs for short.
REITs are companies that own a lot of different properties. Some REITs specialize in just one type of real estate (think apartments in California) while others own a bunch of different kinds of property such as hospitals, office buildings and malls. They make their money much like any landlord does — by collecting rent.
Investors have gobbled up REITs since 2009 for three reasons: