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This article tests the ability of traditional capital structure theories to explain the issuance decisions of real estate investment trusts (REITs). For issuances made between 1997 and 2006, we find strong support for the market timing theory of capital structure. Controlling for past returns and growth, a REIT is more likely to issue equity when its price-to-net asset value ratio is high. This suggests that REITs issue equity in public markets when the cost of equity capital is lower in the public market than in the private market. Consistent with traditional market timing, REITs are more likely to issue equity after experiencing large price increases. We also find some support for REITs following the trade-off theory of capital structure. REITs are less likely to issue debt when proxies for expected bankruptcy costs are high.


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© American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association. Final version published as: Boudry, W. I., Kallberg, J. G., & Liu, C. H. (2010). An analysis of REIT security issuance decisions. Real Estate Economics, 38(1), 91-120. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.