An ETF dedicated to global real estate investment trusts with a decent yield is breaking out to its highest levels since 2008.

SPDR Dow Jones Global Real Estate (NYSEArca: RWO) posted a total return of 26% last year and currently sports a dividend yield of 3.9%. [Real Estate ETFs for Dividends]

The fund outperformed its counterparts that focus on U.S.-based REITs such as Vanguard REIT (NYSEArca: VNQ), which gained roughly 18% in 2012.

REITs are touted for diversification but they ended up falling harder than the S&P 500 during the 2008 financial meltdown.

However, for four years, real estate investment trusts have offered investors an irresistible combination: Market-beating returns alongside a juicier stream of income than bonds, Barron’s reports.

“While performance in the U.S. has been good, international REITs have been terrific,” Barron’s noted.

REITs have benefited from extremely low interest rates, so a key risk is central banks moving away from easy monetary policies.

RWO has a global focus although about 54% of the portfolio is concentrated in the U.S.

SPDR Dow Jones International Real Estate (NYSEArca: RWX) and iShares FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate ex-U.S. (NasdaqGM: IFGL) are pure plays on international REITs.

SPDR Dow Jones Global Real Estate

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