Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
A form of ownership in which typically smaller investors invest in shares of a trust that accumulates money and invests in real estate through mortgages, equity, or both. REITs can be publicly traded and are highly regulated. They generate tax-free income, provided that 90 percent of net income is distributed to holders. Some REITs specialize in specific types of commercial real estate, such as medical, office, or retail properties.