The real estate investment trust sector recorded a total return of 34.35% for 2006, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.The return, based on the FTSE NAREIT index, puts REITs ahead of all other major U.S. equity market benchmarks for the seventh year in a row, the Washington-based REIT trade association said. NAREIT attributed the robust showing to strong fundamentals across the U.S. commercial real estate sector; increasing portfolio allocations to commercial real estate, especially among large institutional investors; strong mergers-and-acquisitions activity; and steady economic growth. Office properties had the best showing in 2006, with a total return of 45.22%. Health care came in next, at 44.55%, followed by self-storage, at 40.95%, and apartments, at 39.95%. NAREIT can be found online at http://www.nareit.com.

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