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What Are Canadian Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)?

Canadian Real Estate Investment Trusts: What They Are and Should You Invest? Canadians have heard owning property was the path to wealth all their lives, but what if there was another way to own property rather than purchasing an unaffordable home with a giant mortgage? Let’s talk about Canadian real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Whether you are a seasoned investor or a beginner in the world of real estate investing, understanding how REITs work is essential. Canadian Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, own and manage income-generating properties. Canadian REITs offer investors a way to diversify their portfolios and generate passive income.

With their stable rental income streams and potential for capital appreciation, REITs have become increasingly popular among investors, especially among those who want to get into real estate but don’t have the capital for down payments or the appetite to become a landlord.

We will discuss the different REIT types available in Canada, from residential and commercial to industrial and healthcare. By the end of this article, you will clearly understand Canadian REITs and how they can help you achieve your financial goals.

Understanding Canadian Real Estate Investment Trusts

Canadian Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, are investment vehicles that allow individuals to invest in a diversified portfolio of income-generating real estate assets without the need to own or manage properties directly. Instead, investors can buy shares of a REIT, which is managed by a professional team responsible for acquiring, managing, and developing real estate properties. The rental income generated by these properties is then distributed to the REIT shareholders as dividends.

One of the main advantages of investing in Canadian REITs is the ability to access a wide range of real estate properties and sectors. Whether you are interested in residential, commercial, industrial, or healthcare properties, there is likely a REIT that suits your investment goals. Additionally, REITs expose investors to different geographic locations, allowing for further diversification.

Another key feature of Canadian REITs is their tax efficiency. According to

“In exchange for paying out most of its taxable income, the REIT is able to avoid taxation on its earnings at the corporate level. This legal structure makes it easier and cheaper for REITs to acquire real estate, meaning they can acquire property more easily than non-REITs can.”

As a result, REIT investors may benefit from higher dividend yields compared to other types of investments due to its favourable taxation structure.

Overall, understanding the basics of Canadian REITs is crucial before diving into real estate investing. With their unique structure and benefits, REITs allow individuals to participate in the real estate market without the need for substantial capital or property management expertise.

Benefits of Investing in Canadian REITs

Investing in Canadian REITs offers several benefits that make them an attractive option for individuals looking to diversify their investment portfolio and generate passive income. You can buy REIT’s through your investment brokerage. Let’s explore some key advantages of investing in these real estate investment vehicles.

Stable Income Streams:

One of the main benefits of investing in Canadian REITs is their stable income streams. REITs generate rental income from their real estate properties, which is then distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends. This income can be particularly attractive for individuals seeking regular cash flow and a source of passive income.


Canadian REITs offer investors the opportunity to diversify their investment portfolio. By investing in different types of properties and sectors, such as residential, commercial, industrial, and healthcare, investors can spread their risk and potentially reduce the impact of any single property or sector downturn.


Unlike actually owning real estate properties, investing in Canadian REITs provides investors with liquidity, meaning their cash is easily accessible if needed. Shares of REITs can be easily bought or sold on stock exchanges, allowing investors to access their investment capital when needed. This liquidity can be particularly advantageous in times of financial uncertainty or when investors require immediate access to their funds.

Professional Management:

When investing in Canadian REITs, individuals benefit from professional management. REITs are typically managed by experienced teams who are responsible for acquiring, managing, and developing real estate properties. This expertise can help investors avoid the hassle of property management and benefit from the knowledge and experience of professionals in the real estate industry.

Potential for Capital Appreciation:

In addition to stable income streams, Canadian REITs also have the potential for capital appreciation. As the value of the underlying real estate properties increases over time, the value of the REIT shares may also increase. This capital appreciation can provide investors with additional returns on their investment.

Investing in Canadian REITs can provide individuals with a range of benefits, including stable income streams, diversification, liquidity, professional management, and the potential for capital appreciation. However, it is important to carefully evaluate the risks and challenges associated with these investments before making any investment decisions.

Canadian real estate investment trusts

Types of Canadian REITs

REITS are organized into two types. They can be focused on investing in the mortgages that help fund real estate, or they can be backed by equity, and investing in the actual properties.

Sectors covered by Equity focused Canadian REITs

Canadian REITs come in various types, each specializing in different real estate sectors. By understanding the different types of REITs available in Canada, investors can choose investments that align with their investment goals and risk tolerance. Let’s explore some of the main types of Canadian REITs.

1. Residential REITs:

Residential REITs primarily invest in residential properties, such as apartment buildings, townhouses, and single-family homes. These REITs generate rental income from tenants and benefit from the stability and demand for rental properties in Canada.

2. Commercial REITs:

Commercial REITs focus on investing in commercial properties, including office buildings, shopping centers, and industrial properties. These REITs generate rental income from businesses leasing their properties, making them particularly attractive for investors looking for exposure to the commercial real estate market.

3. Industrial REITs:

Industrial REITs specialize in investing in industrial properties, such as warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities. With the growth of e-commerce and the increasing demand for logistics and storage spaces, industrial REITs have gained popularity among investors.

4. Healthcare REITs:

Healthcare REITs invest in properties related to the healthcare industry, such as hospitals, medical office buildings, and senior living facilities. These REITs benefit from the stable demand for healthcare services and the aging population in Canada.

5. Mixed-Use REITs:

Mixed-use REITs invest in a combination of different property types, such as residential, commercial, and retail properties

Risks of Investing in Canadian REITS

As we saw throughout the pandemic, retail and commercial real estate was essentially abandoned, shops closed, and workers stayed home, making many companies rethink their office policies and building needs.

That once in a lifetime event had a huge disruption to the real estate industry and Canadian REITs.

REITs also operate in an environment where they have a high debt load. Think about all the mortgages on properties under the REIT’s organization.

In Conclusion

Canadian Real Estate Investment Trusts can be a good way to diversify your portfolio into the real estate industry without having to take on mortgages or the responsibilities of property management yourself. So If you like the idea of real estate but the thought of being a landlord or taking on mortgages is not for you, consider investing in REITs instead. 


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