By now, your clients should have heard the term "REIT," or real estate investment trust, in the investment world, but they may be wondering what one is and how it works.First, they should know that REITs are not new. They've been around for more than 45 years. However, it has only been since the 1990s that REITs have gained popularity.

From the end of 1992 to the middle of 2001, the size of the REIT industry increased almost tenfold. But according to the Institute of Business and Finance, the REIT industry has only captured 10 percent of the $3.5 trillion commercial real estate market, and it still has plenty of room for growth.

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