REITs were created in 1960 when the U.S. Congress passed, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law, the Cigar Excise Tax Extension Act, which contained within it the initial Federal tax legislation authorizing REITs in the United States. This tax legislation was intentionally patterned after the tax rules governing mutual funds (regulated investment companies), a type of investment structure first adopted two decades earlier meant to provide the public with an efficient means for investing in diversified portfolios of corporate securities.
Nareit is incorporated and continues today as the worldwide representative voice for REITs and publicly traded real estate companies with an interest in U.S. real estate and capital markets.
The first REITs are created. Three of the original six are still in existence today.
The first REIT is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The first European REIT legislation is passed in the Netherlands. This begins the global spread of the REIT model.
The first REIT index is launched.
A package of REIT simplification amendments is signed into law by President Ford. It allows REITs to be established as either trusts or corporation.
The National Real Estate Stock Fund is formed as the first open-end mutual fund dedicated to REITs.
The first health care REIT is established.
President Reagan signs into law more REIT simplifications, including one that allows REITs to be managed, like other companies, by their own internal management teams instead of by outside advisers, as mutual funds are.
Legislation signed by President Clinton makes it easier for pension plans to invest in REITs.
The first life sciences REIT is created.
The first publicly traded timberland and telecommunications tower REITs are created.
REIT Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) appear for the first time.
President Bush signs into law provisions of the REIT Improvement Act that allow REITs to manage their day-to-day business operations more effectively for the benefit of their shareholders.
The first publicly traded data center REIT appears.
The REIT Investment and Diversification Act becomes law, allowing REITs to buy and sell real estate assets more efficiently.
REITs and Nareit celebrate their 50th anniversary.
The first stock exchange listed farmland REIT is established.
The first publicly traded electric transmission infrastructure REIT is established.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) was reauthorized, extending the federal program credited with stabilizing the insurance marketplace in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
President Barack Obama signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015. The PATH Act included measures designed to ease the provisions in the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) of 1980 impeding foreign investment in U.S. real estate and infrastructure.
At the close of trading on Aug. 31, 2016, Real Estate became the 11th headline sector within the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI Inc. moved equity REITs and other listed real estate companies from the Financials Sector to the new Real Estate Sector.