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Healthcare oriented investments are often believed likely to grow as the nation ages and medical advancements continue to improve life quality and longevity. Healthcare REITs provide a way to invest in hospitals, short/long term rehabilitation facilities and senior health retirement centers. REIT exposure also often helps add yield to a portfolio.

REITs must distribute at least 90% of their taxable income in order to eliminate the need to pay income tax at the corporate level, but their dividends are generally taxed at the investor's income tax rate.

Beyond the income stream that the REIT model usually necessitates, medical real estate is an interesting and highly specific industry, with varying niche sub-industries such as those mentioned above, amongst others. Over the last several decades, medical costs have outpaced inflation. Being the landlord to medical services could be a beneficial position, though the regulatory and insurance landscape do present highlighted risks within the industry of American healthcare.

Below are seven publicly traded healthcare REITs. I have included their current dividend yields, as well as their 1-month and 2011-to-date performance rates:

HCP, Inc. (HCP)
  • Yield: 5.5%
  • 1-Month Performance: -6.13%
  • 2011-to-date Performance: -4.87%
Health Care REIT Inc. (HCN)
  • Yield: 6%
  • 1-Month Performance: -11.4%
  • 2011-to-date Performance: 0.5%
LTC Properties Inc. (NYSE:LTC)
  • Yield: 6.7%
  • 1-Month Performance: -10.58%
  • 2011-to-date Performance: -11.92%
National Health Investors, Inc. (NYSE:NHI)
  • Yield: 5.7%
  • 1-Month Performance: -7.33%
  • 2011-to-date Performance: -3.37%
Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. (NYSE:OHI)
  • Yield: 9.2%
  • 1-Month Performance: -18.67%
  • 2011-to-date Performance: -23.71%
Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH)
  • Yield: 6.6%
  • 1-Month Performance: -8.65%
  • 2011-to-date Performance: 1.09%
Ventas, Inc. (VTR)
  • Yield: 3.5%
  • 1-Month Performance: -8.47%
  • 2011-to-date Performance: -4.04%
Healthcare can be highly dependent upon the economy and general employment rates. Individuals with healthcare coverage are far more likely to regularly see doctors. Any substantive development in healthcare nationalization could also have unforeseen positive or negative impacts upon this business.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Source: 7 Healthcare REITs: Recent Performance and Dividend Rates