After all the hype subsides and an investment has lost its veil of popularity, investors will take the time to look for hidden bargains, particularly in exchange traded funds (ETFs). Real Estate Investment Funds (REITs) have recently gone from "what’s hot" to "what’s not", even after just one year ago when returns were exceeding 30% annually from 2004-2006.

Dan Caplinger for The Motley Fool reports that as the housing slump is nearing full force, anything with the words "real estate" has been ignored by investors. Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ) has fallen more than 20%, while mortgages and residential have born the brunt. Not all REITs focus on residential property, they can also include commercial property, management and shopping malls.

Business conditions in these other areas have fared well. Keep in mind that REITs may not have hit the bottom yet, and low interest rates could provide a jolt. But that association with "real estate" has not been a help to REITs. VNQ is down 16.2% year-to-date.


The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.