Real estate investment trusts made a record number of offerings and raised a record amount in 1997, according to data from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Washington.

REITs completed more than $45 billion in securities offerings in 1997, according to the trade group. That includes $10 billion in unsecured debt from 134 offerings, up from $4.7 billion in 1996 and $3.4 billion in 1995.

In addition the trusts raised $26 billion from 289 secondary equity offerings and $6 billion from 26 initial public offerings.

In all, 210 REITs with an equity market capitalization of nearly $141 billion trade on the national stock exchanges; five years ago there were 142, with market capitalization of $16 billion.

About 45 of the trusts have capitalizations that exceed $1 billion.

Steven Wechsler, president and chief executive officer of the trade group, said that more than $350 billion of income-producing real estate in the United States has been securitized.

He said the total may double during the next five years.

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