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Real Estate ETFs at All-Time Highs: Here's Why

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The U.S. real estate sector is in the pink this year. Nuveen Short-Term REIT ETF (NURE) has been the best performer with 40.2% year-to-date gains. Several real estate ETFs have been hovering around the all-time highs.

We highlight below the reasons that have boosted the real estate ETFs.

Rising Inflation

The current economic backdrop is favorable for an inflation comeback. The U.S. consumer price inflation rate stood at 5.4% in July 2021, unchanged from the previous month's 13-year high and slightly above market expectations of 5.3%, thanks to easy comparison caused by the coronavirus crisis, the re-opening of the economy and persistent supply constraints. In a rising inflation environment, real estate stocks act as a good bet. Both, resale value of the property and rental income, rise with price inflation.

Some specific categories within REITs like shopping centers, apartments and self-storage have shown promise lately, as they benefit from reopening. Residential and commercial real estate rents are strongly rebounding this year, after last year’s plunge due to the pandemic.

Uptick in Home Prices is a Boon for Renters

The U.S. homebuilding sector is on fire. Thanks to extremely low mortgage rates, home sales are upbeat. But higher demand for home buying as well as lack of labor and land has boosted home prices. This is a great scenario for renters.

Along with some analysts, we too believe that fast-rising home prices are likely to keep prospective homebuyers away from the ownership and direct them toward the rental market. “Homeownership is still dead in this country because the only people that are buying homes right now are people that have equity, great credit and a job,” multi-family housing investor Grant Cardone told Yahoo Finance, quoted on an article.

Still Shaky Job Market = High Demand for Rent from Low-Income Group

The job market is still far from steady. Though the U.S. economy added 943,000 jobs in July 2021, the maximum in eleven months and above market expectations of 870,000, the economy is yet to attain full-employment. This means demand for real estates for rent purpose is likely to remain strong from middle-income or low-income consumers.

Booming Cloud Business and Rollout of 5G

A stupendous tech rally has been aiding the data center REITs in recent times. Data center REITs own and manage facilities that aid customers to safely store data. These REITs provide continued power supplies, air-cooled chillers and physical security.

Meanwhile, cell-tower REITs area has been a beneficiary of the rapid rollout of 5G. Investors should note that increased consumption of mobile data has been boosting this space.

Real Estates Are Lucrative Amid a Low-Yield Environment

If these are not enough, a general low-rate environment is great for real estate stocks and ETFs as these are high-yielding in nature. The benchmark U.S. 10-year treasury yield was 1.31% on Sep 1. Against such a low-yield backdrop, dividends offered by real estate ETFs are quite sturdy.

Some of the decent real estate ETF plays right now are VanEck Vectors Mortgage REIT Income ETF (MOR - Free Report) T) (yields 6.80% annually), Global X SuperDividend REIT ETF (SRET - Free Report) (yields 6.45% annually) and Invesco KBW Premium Yield Equity REIT ETF (KBWY - Free Report) (yields 6.00% annually).

Against this backdrop, below we highlight a few real state ETFs that are hovering around a 52-week high.

ETFs in Focus

Global X Data Center REITs & Digital Infrastructure (VPN - Free Report) – Yields 0.62% annually

Pacer Benchmark & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF (SRVR - Free Report) – Yields 1.33% annually           

U.S. Real Estate iShares ETF (IYR - Free Report) – Yields 1.85% annually

Cohen & Steers REIT iShares ETF (ICF - Free Report) – Yields 1.81% annually

S&P 500 Real Estate Sector SPDR (XLRE - Free Report) – Yields 2.78% annually