The U.S. real estate investment trust sector turned in a negative total return of 17.83% for 2007, trailing other major equity indices, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.The return is based on the FTSE NAREIT series of indices maintained by the Washington-based REIT industry trade group. Taking into account only mortgage REITs, total return was down 42.35%. The only REIT sectors to show a positive total return for the year were the industrial (0.38%), health care (2.13%), and specialty (14.56%) sectors. "Following seven consecutive years of outperforming the broader equity market, U.S. REIT returns suffered in 2007 as some investors began to reduce their REIT positions early in the year," said Michael Grupe, NAREIT's executive vice president for research and investor outreach. "The downturn continued later in the year as many investors shied away from real estate investments, including REITs, in the wake of illiquidity in the credit markets." NAREIT can be found online at http://www.nareit.com.

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