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REITs go on a buying spree Add to ...

At least all this money Canadian REITs are raising is being put to good use.

Rather than raise money simply to stuff cash in their coffers, most REITs have tapped the market with the intent to purchase new properties. And they have good reason to. A number of their peers have gone on a buying spree, which forces everyone to buy to keep up.

The active companies include the likes of Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust , which just announced $171-million of acquisitions. It's the company's biggest income producing purchase since 2008, according to Scotia Capital.

Artis REIT also announced a new batch of acquisitions worth $242-million, continuing what analyst Mario Saric describes as a "torrid acquisition pace." The company bought seven new properties across Canada and in Minnesota. Artis has already made two acquisition announcements in 2011.

As for behemoth RioCan REIT , $300-million of new properties have been scooped up year-to-date, fulfilling half of its $600-million acquisition target for the year. Achieving that goal will be tough. "Competition for acquisitions on both sides of the border is intense, thought management remains confident that it can leverage its relationship for deals," noted Scotia analyst Pammi Bir.

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