Real estate investment trusts earned higher returns during the past decade than investments in any other equity sector, according to research from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Investors who put $10,000 into the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index at the beginning of the decade would have finished it with $27,454, the association said on Thursday. By contrast, investors who put the same amount in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index would have finished the decade with $9,090.

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