Lazy landlords: why I’d buy REITs to make a passive income

Buying REITs today could lead to a relatively high passive income. They may also provide diversity and long-term growth potential in my view.

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Investing money in real estate investment trusts (REITs) could be a sound means of obtaining a generous passive income. In some cases, their prices have fallen in recent months so that they now offer high yields relative to other income-producing assets.

Furthermore, investing in a REIT provides significant diversification and risk reduction. The wide range of properties they hold means that you are less reliant on a small number of assets for your income, which is often not the case with direct property investment.

In the long run, REITs could offer worthwhile capital returns as investor confidence improves and the economic outlook strengthens.

Making a passive income

The yields on offer from REITs are relatively appealing at a time when it is increasingly difficult to make a passive income elsewhere. The uncertain economic outlook has led many companies to reduce or even cancel their dividend payouts. Many others could follow in the coming months.

Meanwhile, low interest rates mean that other income-producing assets such as cash and bonds offer returns that are lower than inflation in some cases. Therefore, holding them could lead to a loss of spending power in the coming years that negatively impacts on your financial prospects.

As such, buying a range of REITs today could be a simple means of obtaining a worthwhile passive income from your capital. Many of them have a long track record of dividend growth that could prove to be relatively resilient in the coming years.

Reducing risks

Some investors may have previously bought property directly to make a passive income. While this may have been a successful strategy, it can carry a significant amount of risk. The high cost of property means that building a diverse portfolio is a difficult aim for most investors. Therefore, they become reliant on a small number of assets for their income.

By contrast, a REIT has a vast amount of assets. Often, they operate in different segments, such as leisure, retail and office properties. And, many REITs have exposure to different regions that further reduces their overall risk. This high level of diversification could mean that you enjoy a more robust income return that is less volatile over the long run.

Capital growth possibilities

Since many REITs offer generous passive incomes while interest rates are low, they could become more popular in future. This could catalyse their share prices and lead to capital growth for investors.

With the economic outlook being challenging at the present time, many REITs may also trade on low valuations. This may further improve their return prospects, and allow investors to benefit from their growth opportunities as well as their generous income return. As such, now could be the right time to buy REITs and hold them for the long run.

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Motley Fool contributor Peter Stephens has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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