The best of Canada's REITs

The most striking conclusion of the note to investors may be that there’s very little chaff left at the bottom of the thresher. While real estate markets across Canada have lost a little bit of their lustre since the sparkling days of 2012, REITs continue to outperform analyst expectations.

Still, BMO has isolated some 13 players with the kind of proven track record warranting special attention. They range from office-property powerhouse Brookfield to industrial giant Dundee.

More generally, the managers of Canadian REITs are expanding their IPOs as a way of capitalizing on their increasingly good names and attracting new investors able to help them grow already sizable portfolios.

Traditional landlord investors have been less bullish on REITs and more reluctant to give up the bricks ‘n mortar approach. That strategy won’t likely be tested this year as vacancy rates in several key Canadian markets – at least in the residential sphere – continue to support the buy-and-hold approach of long-term investors, argue some analysts.

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