Electronic Theses and Dissertations


The 5Oth Anniversary of REITts: a Triple Case Study With Financial Analysis

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Accountancy

First Advisor

Dale Flesher

Second Advisor

Matthew D. Hill

Third Advisor

J. R. Shaw


On September 14th, 2010, the REIT industry celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Only three REITs that were there in the beginning still exist today: Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, and Winthrop Realty Trust (formerly known as First Union Real Estate Equity and Mortgage Investments). This study provides a historical recap of the first fifty years of the REIT industry with a review of its rules and underlying tax legislation. In addition, it provides a historical review of the three successful companies that have been in the industry throughout its entire existence. Quantitative analysis was performed through the computation of specific ratios relevant to the REIT industry from 1961 through 2010, utilizing data from Compustat, SNL Financial, and hand-collected data. In addition, ANOVA testing was performed to identify significant differences in the ratios for the three specific companies and all the other companies in the industry. Qualitative analysis was performed through review of historical documents and interviews with company management. Specific qualitative and quantitative factors were identified for each company, even though those factors may not have been the same for all three companies. The main finding from this research is that a company that can establish its identity, hire strong management, know its market, and concentrate its focus on particular financial measures and goals will be the company that will survive while other companies fail.

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