Real estate investment trusts are corporate bond issuers that choose a certain tax status and have distinctive investment parameters, distribution requirements and liquidity needs. 

However, there are many similarities between REITS and non-REIT corporations in areas such as corporate governance practices and growth strategies, according to Fitch Ratings.

Nonetheless, the 10 key credit factors noted in the report, show the differences between REITs and on-REIT corporates exceed similarities. Additionally, these differences deserve consideration for fixed-income investors.

For instance, a REIT is organized as a corporation or business trust, but REITs have greater tax efficiencies than non-REIT corporations.

Additionally, REIT dividend yields are currently in the 3% to 5% range but can migrate higher due to higher interest rates, lower stock prices, conditions in the broader equity market or weakening credit profiles. 

REITs have a limited revenue mix.

Thus, to maintain REIT status, at least 75% of a REIT‘s income must be generated from real property or interests in real estate loans or securities.  

Joint ventures are another source of growth for REITs and non-REIT corporates.  

"REITs may act as a general partner (GP) or managing member for JVs, sourcing and managing investments for such entities," the credit rating agency explained.