A diversified REIT is a real estate investment trust whose portfolio contains more than one type of property or other real estate assets. For example, a diversified REIT might invest in office buildings and retail properties.

REITs are a favorite type of investment among many dividend- and growth-seeking investors, and diversified REITs help mitigate the risk that comes with owning just a single type of asset. With that in mind, here's an overview of diversified REITs and five solid examples that you might want to consider for your own portfolio.

Glass side of a high-rise office building.

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What is a diversified REIT, and why should you consider one?

If you're not familiar with real estate investment trusts, or REITs, they're companies that invest in real estate assets with the intention of generating income from those assets to distribute to shareholders. As long as a REIT distributes at least 90% of its taxable income as dividends, it won't be taxed at the corporate level, which is why REITs are generally some of the highest-paying dividend stocks in the market.

Generally speaking, most REITs concentrate on a single type of property or other type of asset. For example, some REITs focus on shopping mall properties, while others own apartment buildings or healthcare properties. Some don't own properties at all and buy mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

However, some REITs own several different types of real estate assets. These are known as diversified REITs.

Two mid-rise apartment buildings.

Image source: Getty Images.

5 top diversified REIT stocks


Recent Stock Price

Dividend Yield

W.P. Carey (NYSE:WPC)



EPR Properties (NYSE:EPR)



Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO)



Empire State Realty Trust (NYSE:ESRT)



Store Capital (NYSE:STOR)



Data Source: TD Ameritrade. Prices and yields are as of 11/10/17.

W.P. Carey

W.P. Carey is a REIT that's diversified in terms of geography, tenants, industries, and property type. The company's 890 properties are all leased to tenants on a net-lease basis and have an extraordinarily high 99.8% occupancy rate. The company's primary property types include industrial, office, retail, and warehouse real estate, with no particularly high concentration in one property type or another:

Property Type

% of WPC's Portfolio (by Rental Income)











Other types


Data source: W.P. Carey.

The company's properties are located throughout the United States and Europe and are leased to 211 different tenants. No tenant represents more than 5.3% of the total rent, and top tenants include household names such as U-Haul, Marriott, and TrueValue.

The company's debt-to-enterprise value is a reasonable 36.8%, and the company's 2017 dividend represents a 75% funds-from-operations payout ratio, which is quite low for a REIT. Since converting to a REIT in 2012, W.P. Carey has raised its dividend every year and has generated a total return of 98% over the past five years.

EPR Properties

EPR Properties is a unique REIT in the sense that it invests in three specific and unique types of real estate -- entertainment, recreation, and education. The entertainment properties are primarily megaplex cinemas; the recreation properties include waterparks, golf businesses (TopGolf is a major tenant), and more; and the education properties include public charter schools and early childhood education centers.

The company owns 378 triple-net-leased properties, located in 43 states, D.C., and Canada, and has grown rather aggressively, especially in recent years. Since 2012, EPR has made more than $3 billion in new investments, particularly in the recreation and education portions of its portfolio.

Basically, the entertainment and recreation portions of the portfolio are plays on the millennial generation and the value its members place on experiences. For example, megaplex theaters have steadily improved customer experiences with luxury seating, in-theater dining options, and other features, and this has significantly increased these properties' revenue potential. And the education portion of the portfolio should provide some nice protection in the event of a recession, as it is an inherently defensive industry.

Over the past 20 years, EPR has delivered a 1,517% total return for investors (14.9% annualized), and the company has increased its dividend consistently during that time.

Vornado Realty Trust

Vornado Realty Trust isn't a geographically diversified REIT, with its properties focused in the New York City area. However, the portfolio is split between office and retail space, which makes sense given that many NYC buildings have a combination of both.

The main reason I like Vornado is for the quality of its portfolio. The company has an impressive roster of high-end New York City office properties in Midtown, Park Avenue, Chelsea, and other neighborhoods, with a tenant list that reads like a who's who of high-quality U.S. corporations.

On the retail side, Vornado has a huge presence in some of the highest-profile areas of the city, including upper Fifth Avenue, where it owns nearly one-fourth of all retail frontage, and Times Square.

Because of the high-growth nature of the NYC real estate market, the company has outpaced most other REITs in terms of same-store net operating income growth over the past decade, with a 5.4% annualized growth rate, and since the city continues to experience tremendous job and tourism growth, Vornado should have plenty of opportunities to increase income and grow its market share.

Empire State Realty Trust

Continuing with our New York City office/retail REITs, another you might want to take a look at is Empire State Realty Trust.

As the name implies, Empire State Realty Trust's flagship property is the famous Empire State Building. So, as you might imagine, the majority of the company's revenue comes from office space, but there's a small and significant retail component to the portfolio as well.

The company currently has a major opportunity to lease up more than 640,000 square feet of vacant office space, most of which has been redeveloped and should result in some sky-high releasing spreads. Specifically, the average lease expiring in 2017 is currently paying Empire State $46.74 per square foot per year, while the company claims that its weighted average current market rent is $57 -- a 22% bump in income.

Empire State has also identified more than 1 million square feet of further redevelopment opportunity through 2021 in its existing portfolio, so it's fair to say that there is lots of room for revenue growth.

Store Capital

Store Capital is a net-lease REIT, which recently gained note for becoming the first REIT added to Warren Buffett's stock portfolio.

The company owns 1,826 properties, split between service-based, retail, and manufacturing businesses. Tenant diversification isn't an issue, as the company has 382 tenants operating in over 100 distinct industries.

While Store Capital's retail and service-sector exposure might alarm investors, it's important to realize that most of Store's tenants have a defensive component to their business. For example, service-based businesses such as restaurants are naturally e-commerce resistant, and movie theaters and education businesses are in the same boat.

And most of the retail businesses have some sort of experiential component to them. For example, furniture stores are the top retail subsector in Store's portfolio, and people generally want to experience their furniture in person before they buy it.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.