Contributor, Benzinga
July 17, 2023

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Among the most popular real estate investment trusts (REITs) are Residential REITs. These are great long-term investments with a low risk that tends to even out over time. Residential REITs make it possible for virtually anyone to be a part of something great - owning real estate.

What are Residential REITs?

Residential REITs own, develop, and manage residential real estate. These properties are then rented out to tenants. These residences may include:

This type of real estate investment trust may own and manage anything from urban high rises to vacation condominiums, and everything in between. They just must be residential - not for commercial or industrial use.

Benefits of Residential REITs

Demand: People will always need somewhere to live. If you need to live in student housing while in college, then an apartment near your work, on to a single family home in the suburbs, Residential real estate is always needed. As long as people need a roof over their heads, the profits will keep coming in.

Recession Resistant: Even when the economy is bad, people pay their rent first - they don’t want to be out on the streets. Other luxuries will be cut before rent. In some cases, people may move in with other family members to save money or move to a cheaper place, but most people don’t have anywhere to go and will do just about anything to save their home.

Risks of Residential REITs

Lease Terms: With residential real estate lease terms are generally 1-2 years, unlike commercial leases of 10+ years. This gives renters an out when their lease is up after just a short time. This leaves managers and owners constantly looking for new tenants.

Housing Market: REITs that own residential properties make their profits from renters. Nowadays, more and more people want to own. Mortgage companies and first time buyer incentives try to make it easier for people to own as well. With more people becoming homeowners, there could be less need for rentals.

As with most types of REITs, Residential and apartment REITs are a great long-term investment. If you have the money and the patience, you can reap great profits from Residential REITs and set yourself up for a great retirement. 

Largest Residential REITs

These are 3 of the largest REIT stocks on the market you can buy to take advantage of increasing rental rates in the residential real estate market.

AvalonBay Communities

AvalonBay Communities (NYSE: AVB) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) with a long history of constructing, redeveloping, purchasing and managing innovative apartment homes in some of the top U.S. markets. The company aims to create a better way for people to live by offering new solutions to old problems and looking for innovative concepts to implement.

The company has also provided outsized risk-adjusted returns to shareholders. Furthermore, AvalonBay Communities has established a leading position based on long-term wealth creation, with an equal mix of experience and vision.

AvalonBay specializes in multifamily development, acquisition and management. The company owns apartment units throughout New England, the New York City metropolitan area, Washington, D.C., Seattle and California. The firm is the third largest owner of apartments in the U.S., with a portfolio size of nearly 80,000 apartment units across the states. Some notable properties owned by the firm include Avalon North Station, Avalon West Hollywood and Avalon Glendora.

Market Cap$28.103 billion
Dividend Yield3.33%

Equity Residential

Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) is an S&P 500 firm specializing in acquiring, developing and managing residential apartment complexes in metropolitan and high-density suburban coastal gateway regions where today's affluent renters look for a place to live, work and play.

Equity Residential's mission is to build communities where individuals can feel protected to thrive. As of December 2020, the firm owned or had investments in 309 properties in Southern California, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Seattle and Denver, totaling 77,889 apartment units. Some notable properties owned by Equity Residential include Helios, Urbana, Riverpark and Red 160.

Market Cap$25.959 billion
Dividend Yield3.87%

Invitation Homes

Invitation Homes Inc. (NYSE: INVH) is a U.S. leading single-family home leasing company, headquartered in the Comerica Bank Tower in Dallas, Texas. The company aims to change lifestyle demands by offering access to high-end, updated residential homes with excellent features, such as close vicinity to jobs and schools.

"Together with you, we make a house a home," the company's mission states, reflecting the Invitation Homes' commitment to providing houses where individuals and families may thrive, as well as high-touch service that consistently improves residents' living experiences. The company owned about 80,000 rental homes in 16 markets across the U.S. as of September 2020.

Market Cap$21.662 billion
Dividend Yield2.94%

Residential REIT ETFs

Another option for investing in residential REITs is to invest in an ETF that invests in residential REIT stocks. Investing in a residential REIT ETF is an easy way to invest in this industry while allowing a professional fund manager to choose which residential REITs to invest in, the right time to buy, and when to sell.

Below are 2 residential REIT ETFs worth looking at:


Industry Overview

Number of REITs19
Average Dividend Yield3.45%
YTD Total Return9.23%
June Total Return6.28%
2022 Total Return-31.34%

Quarterly Performance Data

Financial MetricQ1 20232023
FFO ($M)$2,530$2,530
NOI ($M)$3,594$3,594
Dividends Paid ($M)$1,590$1,590
Same Store NOI8.89%

All Residential REITs

TickerCompany NameMarket CapDividend Yield
AIRCApartment Income REIT$5.434B4.93%
AVBAvalonBay Communities$28.103B3.33%
CLPRClipper Realty$100.556M6.06%
CPTCamden Property Trust$11.898B3.57%
ELSEquity Lifestyle Props$12.520B2.66%
EQREquity Residential$25.978B3.87%
ESSESSex Property Trust$15.799B3.76%
INVHInvitation Homes$21.662B2.94%
IRTIndependence Realty Trust$4.136B3.55%
MAAMid-America Apartment$18.092B3.59%
NXRTNexPoint Residential Trust$1.234B3.52%
SUISun Communities$16.285B7.24%
ARRArmour Residential REIT$977.563M19.1%

Investing in Residential REITs

Residential real estate is arguably the safest property type to invest in. No matter what, people will always need a place to live. On top of that, rental properties benefit from being less affected by the real estate market than types of properties. If the housing market or the economy crashes, the demand for rentals actually increases as it becomes more difficult for people to buy a home. This makes residential REITs a solid investment that should provide consistent income for the long-term.

Other Options to Invest in Residential Real Estate

REITs provide a low-cost and simple way to invest in real estate. However, they aren't the only alternative to buying a physical property. The real estate investment companies listed below provide investors with a simple way to earn passive income through residential real estate.

Real estate crowdfunding offers investors the ability to decide which properties they want to invest while still enjoying passive income at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods of investing in real estate. Here are some of our favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms:

Accelerate Your Wealth

Arrived Homes allows retail investors to buy shares of individual rental properties for as little as $100. Arrived Homes acquires properties in some of the fastest-growing rental markets in the country, then sells shares to individual investors who simply collect passive income while waiting for the property to appreciate in value over 5 to 7 years. When the time is right, Arrived Homes sells the property so investors can cash in on the equity they've gained over time. Offerings are available to non-accredited investors. Sign up for an account on Arrived Homes to browse available properties and add real estate to your portfolio today.