Canada's largest owner of rental apartments, Boardwalk Inc. of Calgary, has become a real estate investment trust, joining a recent rush of real estate companies into the fast-growing REIT sector. The Boardwalk move makes sense as the company, which owns 39,000 apartments in hundreds of buildings from Montreal and Toronto to Alberta, seeks funding for future acquisitions in an increasingly competitive residential market. The North American REIT (NAREIT) Index posted a total return of 38.5 percent last year, outperforming the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the fourth straight year. Boardwalk Equities will convert to an income trust by the end of the first quarter of this year, according to chief executive officer Sam Kolias. Kolias his brother Van, who own a 31 percent stake in the company, may divest a "significant portion" of their holding for tax and other reasons prior to the conversion, he confirmed. Kolias said the reorganization will give Boardwalk g...
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