Canadian Residential REIT Comparison

Yield alone isn't enough to compare apartment REITs.  Where the apartments are located, the quality and quantity of the apartments can also be important.
    In the long run buying a REIT with a smaller yield with apartments all over Canada could work out better than buying a REIT that is focused on one area of the country.  Checking to see how quickly the average monthly rent is growing or declining can tell you about the future funds from operations on the REIT.
    Appreciation, cash flow, the book value, capital expenditures and the expected rent growth should be compared to other REITs, just as much as you would check out two potential rental properties.

REIT Terms

There are some important ratios and acronyms to know when comparing REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts).  Investing in the REIT with the highest yield may not work out the best in the long run.  You should also compare the price/book ratio, the debt/asset ratio and the price/AFFO ratio when comparing two different REITs.


Funds From Operations (FFO)

Funds from operations or FFO is a common term used for REITS.  FFO will reported as net income + the reported depreciation back - gains on the sales of depreciable property.
    For most companies it would make sense to add in the "expense" of depreciation, but for real estate it doesn't.  Properly taken care of real estate won't depreciate, it will actually appreciate over time.
    The gains that are made on property sales are deducted, because a property sale won't be a recurring event and it isn't a factor in the long term on the ability to meet the dividend in REITs.
    Just a recap; FFO = Income + Depreciation - Gains on Depreciable Property Sales.

Adjusted Funds From Operations (AFFO)

Adjusted funds from operations or AFFO is one of the more important terms used when looking at REITS.  AFFO is generally the FFO - capital expenditures.  Basically the FFO minus the upkeep to maintain the property.

Large Cap Canadian Residential REITs





Market Cap1




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1 $1 = $1,000,000
2 Per Share Data

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Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust (BEI.UN)

BEI.un is Canada's second largest apartment REIT with a market cap just over a two billion.  There is 37.8%, 16.2%, 18.3%, 14% and 7.9% of their apartments in Edmonton, Calgary, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario respectively.  The remaining apartments are in smaller cities in Alberta including 1% in Fort McMurray.  In total Boardwalk has 32,838 apartments.  The ticker symbol is BEI.UN on the TMX and the company website is

Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (CAR.UN)

This is Canada's largest apartment REIT with over 35,000 apartments and a $3,379,325,525 market cap.  Over half of the apartments are in Ontario and more than 15,000 are in the greater Toronto area alone.  There is also over 6000 manufactured home community lots.  The ticker symbol is CAR.UN on the TMX and the company website is

Milestone Apartments Real Estate Investment Trust (MST.UN)

Milestone is Canada's largest apartment REIT that operates exclusively in the United States. They own over 19,000 apartments, operate 58 garden style residential communities, 1.6 billion USD in real estate assets and a $897,653,736 market cap.  Milestone is operating in 13 sunbelt cities with 55%, 12.5% and 9.5% of their apartments in Texas, Florida and Tennessee respectively.  The ticker symbol is MST.UN on the TMX and the company website is