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[2019 Edition] Complete Guide To Start Your REITs Investing Journey In Singapore

One way to become a property investor from as little as a few hundred dollars, and without having to manage any of the headaches.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) is a popular type of investment in Singapore. In fact, it is so popular that Singapore has grown to become the largest REIT market in Asia ex-Japan.

This is mainly down to two reasons.

#1 REITs are essentially property investments

Singaporeans’ fascination for property investments stem from its meteoric rise since our island nation gained independence.

Even on the back numerous property cooling measures enforced to reduce speculation in residential properties, sky-high prices mean that property investments remain out of reach for ordinary Singaporeans.

This is where REITscome intoplay– allowing ordinary investors to access property investments in Singapore and other major property markets by pooling our monies to invest in a diversified portfolio of properties.

#2 REITs offer relatively high dividends

As an asset class, REITs are mandated to pay out 90% of its earnings as distributions to its unitholders. This is the reason why many REITs have a relatively high distribution yield – of between over 4.0% per annum to close to 9.0% per annum.

This provides a passive income for investors, who can choose to reinvest their distributions or to supplement their income. However, we need to understand that REITs are able to pay out a high distribution yield to its unitholders largely because it is highly leveraged.


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Firstly, You Need A Brokerage & CDP Account

Similar to all investments made on the Singapore Exchange(SGX), you need to open a stock brokerage and Central Depository (CDP)account before you are able to access the market. To open a brokerage account, you can go to the individual websites of brokerage firms to apply.

If this is the first time you are signing up for a brokerage account, your broker will likely aid in providing you the CDP application form to fill in and submit them, on your behalf, to CDP. This saves you the hassle of having to deliver the application form on your own. Alternatively, you can sign up for a CDP Account by downloading and completing the CDP application form. More information can be found on the SGX website.

Once you have submitted the CDP application form and all supporting documents, your CDP application is completed. CDP will notify you by post with all your necessary login information in about 10 business days from the day of your application submission.

Read Also: Step-By-Step Guide To Opening A CDP Account In Singapore


What Are REITs?

REITs are listed on the SGX, and can be bought and sold in a similar way to regular stocks.

REITs pool funds from many investors to purchase a large portfolio of properties. These properties are then leased out to collect rents, which are paidto REIT investors in the form of quarterly or semi-annualdistributions.

REITs allow investors to get exposure to large and diversified property investments with a small investment and provides professional property management services to manage the properties, enhancing its portfolioandmaximise rents.

For a company to be classified as a REIT in Singapore, it has to meet strict regulatory guidelines including paying out more than 90% of its income, maintaining a gearing of less than 45%, limiting development activities to a maximum of 25% of its portfolio amongst others.


7 Types of REITs Listed In Singapore

Most REITs specialise in specific real estate segments. There are currently 50 REITs and property-related stapled securities in Singapore, and they typically invest in these seven REIT types:

Read Also: 7 Types of REITS In Singapore, And The Reasons Why People Invest In Them

1. Commercial REITs

No REITs And Stapled Securities Country Exposure Indicative Dividend Yield*
1 CapitaLand Commercial Trust Singapore; Malaysia; Germany 4.7%
2 Cromwell European REIT Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland 8.3%
3 Frasers Commercial Trust Singapore; Australia 6.6%
4 IREIT Global Germany 7.7%
5 Keppel REIT Singapore; Australia 4.7%
6 Keppel-KBS US REIT US 8.1%
7 Manulife US REIT US 7.1%
8 OUE Commercial REIT Singapore; China 6.9%
9 Suntec REIT Singapore; Australia 5.5%

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


2. Retail REITs

No REITs And Stapled Securities Country Exposure Indicative Dividend Yield*
10 BHG Retail REIT China 6.8%
11 CapitaLand Mall Trust Singapore; China 4.9%
12 CapitaLand Retail China Trust China 6.8%
13 Dasin Retail Trust China 8.2%
14 Frasers Centrepoint Trust Singapore 5.1%
15 Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust Indonesia 11.4%
16 Mapletree Commercial Trust Singapore 4.9%
17 Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust China; Hong Kong; Japan 6.0%
18 SPH REIT Singapore 5.4%
19 Starhill Global REIT Singapore; Malaysia 6.3%
20 Sasseur REIT China 8.1%

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


3. Industrial REITs

No REITs And Stapled Securities Country Exposure Indicative Dividend Yield*
21 Aims Amp Capital Industrial REIT Singapore; Australia 7.4%
22 Ascendas India Trust India 6.2%
23 Ascendas REIT Singapore; Australia; China 5.6%
24 Cache Logistics Trust Singapore; Australia 8.3%
25 EC World REIT China 7.7%
26 ESR-REIT Singapore 8.1%
27 Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust Australia; Netherlands; Germany 6.0%
28 Keppel DC REIT Singapore; Australia; Malaysia; UK; Germany; Netherlands; Italy; Ireland 5.0%
29 Mapletree Industrial Trust Singapore 6.0%
30 Mapletree Logistics Trust Singapore; Australia; Malaysia; Hong Kong; Japan; Japan; China; South Korea; Vietnam 5.5%
31 Sabana REIT Singapore 7.1%
32 Soildbuild Business Space REIT Singapore 8.3%

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


4. Hospitality REITs

No REITs And Stapled Securities Country Exposure Indicative Dividend Yield*
33 ARA US Hospitality Trust US N.A.
34 Ascendas Hospitality Trust Singapore; Australia; Japan; China 6.6%
35 Ascott Residence Trust Singapore; Australia; Malaysia; Japan; China; Indonesia; Vietnam; Philippines; France; Germany; Spain; Belgium; UK; US 6.1%
36 CDL Hospitality Trust Singapore; Australia; Japan; UK; Maldives; New Zealand 5.9%
37 Eagle Hospitality Trust US N.A.
38 Far East Hospitality Trust Singapore 6.6%
39 Frasers Hospitality Trust Singapore; Australia; Japan; UK; Germany 6.7%
40 OUE Hospitality Trust Singapore 7.6%

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


5. Healthcare REITs

No REITs And Stapled Securities Country Exposure Indicative Dividend Yield*
41 First REIT Singapore; Indonesia; South Korea 8.9%
42 Parkway Life REIT Singapore; Japan 4.5%

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


6. Other Property-Related Trusts

No REITs And Stapled Securities Country Exposure Indicative Dividend Yield*
43 Accordia Golf Trust Japan 7.2%
44 Hutchinson Port Holdings Trust Hong Kong; China 8.2%
45 Keppel Infrastructure Trust Singapore 8.3%

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


7. Residential

No REITs And Stapled Securities Country Exposure Indicative Dividend Yield*

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


There are currently no residential REITs or stapled securities listed in Singapore. Ascott REIT has certain residential properties in its portfolio, but is considered a hospitality REIT. Saizen REIT, a Japanese REIT that has been delisted since October 2017 was the last residential REIT listed in Singapore.

There are also three REIT exchange traded funds (ETFs) listed in Singapore.


No REITs And Stapled Securities Listed REITs Indicative Dividend Yield*
1 Lion-Phillip S-REIT ETF Singapore 3.9%
2 NikkoAM-Straits Trading Asia Ex Japan REIT ETF Singapore; Malaysia; Hong Kong 3.9%
3 Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF Singapore; Australia; Hong Kong 3.6%

*S-REITs Report Card: 1st Half 2019


To stay up-to-date with the REIT market, DollarsAndSense also regularly writes a quarterly update on REITs, after they have released their results.

Read Also: S-REITs Report Card: Here’s How Singapore REITs Performed In First Half 2019


How To Start Investing In REITs?

We can invest in REITs the same way we invest in stocks and other listed securities on SGX. If we’re already investing in stocks, we can simply buy and sell REITs in the same manner.

As mentioned, if we’re entirely new to investing, we need a Central Depository (CDP) Account and a stock brokerage account.

Since REITs tend to pay out distributions of close to 6.4% per annum at regular intervals on a yearly basis. This makes it an ideal asset class to create a stable stream of dividend income.

We can use this to continue growing our REIT or other investment portfolios, or even supplement our retirement income when we’re ready to retire.

Read Also: Here’s How You Can Start Building A Dividend Income Portfolio To Replace Your Wage In Singapore

Read Also: Income Investing: How To Select The Right Stocks To Build A Sustainable Dividend Income Stream


What Are REIT ETFs?

In Singapore, there are currently three REIT ETFs listed on the SGX. They are 1) Lion-Phillip S-REIT ETF, 2) NikkoAM-Straits Trading Asia Ex Japan REIT ETF and 3) Phillip SGX APAC Dividend Leaders REIT ETF. We can buy and sell all three REIT ETFs on SGX as well.

Primarily comprising high-quality REITs listed in the Asia Pacific region, REIT ETFs are typically passively managed. The main advantage of investing in REIT ETFs is its ability to free us from having to research, monitor and rebalance our REIT portfolio. It also ensures our REIT portfolio is widely diversified across different REITs geographically.

Of course, for this convenience, we have to pay amanagement fee. Over the long term, this may eat into our returns, so we need to carefully judge whether or not to embark on REIT ETF investing. As it is, we’re paying two types of fees when we invest in REITs – REIT management fees and property management fees.

Here are articles that give us a little more information about the REIT ETFs listed in Singapore.

Read Also: Investing in REIT ETFs Listed In Singapore: 5 Things You Need To Know

Read Also: REIT ETFs – Really The Best Of Both Worlds?


Pros And Cons To Investing In REITs VS Physical Properties

Many of us may dream of owning our own private properties that we can collect lucrative rents on as well as capture high capital appreciation when an en-bloc opportunity or willing buyer comes along.

While we tend to only look at the positives, there are both pros and cons to owning properties VS REITs.

To read further on the pros and cons of investing in each asset class, here are some articles we’ve written on the topic.

Read Also: Property Lovers In Singapore: Invest Via Condos, REITS Or Real Estate Companies?


Important Questions We Should Ask When We Decide To Invest In REITs

# 1 Does The REIT Own High-Quality Properties?

One simple way to judge whether investing in a REIT will be a good long-term investment is simply to look at its properties. Many Singapore-listed REITs have properties in Singapore that we can go to.

Malls such as Suntec City, Vivo City, Plaza Singapura, Causeway Point, Takashimaya are all owned by different REITs in Singapore. We can choose to invest in REITs that own properties that we prefer visiting ourselves, as it provide a good indicator for how other consumers may think.

It doesn’t just stop at malls, there are office buildings such as China Square Central, Asia Square, Suntec, One Raffles Place and many more as well as industrial hubs such as properties in Changi Business Park, Airport Boulevard, Woodlands Central that are all owned by REITs. We can easily visit these properties or do a little desktop research into whether people like to dislike these locations and property type.

# 2 Where Do You See The REIT In 10 Years?

Another good indicator is whether we see the properties in the portfolio continuing to do well in the next 10 years.

Some further questions may include:

  • Are these properties well maintained or looks dated?
  • Are these properties in good locations or ones that may go out of favour?

We could also look at how high geared these REITs are. REITs that have high levels of debt may be at higher risk when interest rates go up, or may not have as much opportunity to add to its portfolio.This may also be an indicator of whether they will be able to invest in new opportunities at the right time.

# 3 How Is Its Management Team?

We could also go to the individual REITs’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) to speak to the management team. This may give us some insights into the character of the people managing our investments.

We should also look at its track record, are they able to spot good investment opportunities at good valuations? Are they fair to minority shareholders during rights issue or placements when they need to raise funds?

# 4 Are You Confident Of Choosing The Right REIT?

Lastly, we should ask ourselves if we’re confident of choosing the right REIT and investing at the right time.

If we aren’t so sure, we can invest all or part of our money via the REIT ETFs and via regular investment plans. This will ensure our portfolio is well-diversified and we do not time the markets.

Read Also: Step-By-Step Guide To Investing Using Regular Shares Savings (RSS) Plan

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