After a poor showing last year, real estate investment trust exchange traded funds are outpacing the broader markets and could continue to outshine common stocks.

Year-to-date, the Vanguard REIT ETF (NYSEArca: VNQ) has gained 13.7%, iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate Index Fund (NYSEArca: IYR) rose 11.8% and SPDR Dow Jones Reit ETF (NYSEArca: RWR) increased 14.3%. In comparison, the S&P 500 Index has only inched up 2.6% so far this year. [Rate-Sensitive REIT ETFs Rebound]

Real estate observers argue that that REITs have further room to run as consumer confidence and real estate prices continue to rise, reports Constance Gustke for CNBC.

“There’s room for more growth in REITs, since real estate will be stellar,” Bruce Garrison, a managing director at Chilton Capital Management, said in the article. “Construction levels are still relatively depressed.”

Within the REITs space, Garrison points to real estate for data-centers as a way to accommodate the growth in technology. For instance, he singles out the Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR), which runs global data-center services. DLR has a small weight in diversified REIT ETFs, including 1.2% of VNQ, 2.0% of IYR and 1.4% of RWR.

David Rodgers, a senior real estate research analyst at Robert W. Baird, argues that U.S. industrial REITs will be one of the top performing sub-sectors this year. ETF investors can target this area with the iShares Industrial/Office Real Estate Capped ETF (NYSEArca: FNIO), which focuses on industrial and office space.

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