A slow economic recovery poses ongoing risks for real estate investment trusts, with the greatest risk being the economy itself and fears that REITs will not officially qualify for REIT status, analysts with BDO USA said Tuesday.

Research firm BDO USA released its "2012 BDO RiskFactor Report for REITs," which analyzed the securities and exchange commission filings of publicly-traded REITs.

Today, two-thirds of REITs are worried about declining business and real estate values as well as asset impairment. The financial security of tenants is a risk for 71% of REITs, BDO USA said.

Multifamily REITs face development risks, while retail REITs face struggles as online shopping grows, subduing the need for commercial real estate.

"The real estate industry’s dependence on strong national and global economic conditions makes it vulnerable to high unemployment rates, reduced consumer spending and a lack of business growth," BDO USA said. "Obtaining the appropriate mix of debt and equity financing coupled with difficulties in determining the value of the properties are major risks to investors," said Stuart Eisenberg, partner and national director of the real estate practice at BDO USA.

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