UK - Critics of the poor performance of UK REITs since their launch in January are failing to understand they're a long-term investment, according to Dave Butler, programme coordinator at UK-based campaigning group REITA.

Butler told shareholder portal Cantos UK REITs,  among the worst performers in the FTSE All-Share index, were long-term investments whose performance should be judged over three years minimum.

"The timing of the introduction was about making things work for the longer-term, not about a short-term timing thing. The people who are there now are going to stay there for the long-term," he said.

He admitted jitters over commercial property and a shortage of buyers had negatively affected the REITs market.

Initial investors attracted by arbitrage opportunities had already moved out, but long-term specialist investors had not yet taken their place, he said, although he pointed to increased uptake from specialist and overseas investors.

"REITs in the UK are a global vehicle and what we're seeing is people overseas recognising how REITs work in the UK, comparing their own regimes and starting to take some interest," he said, pointing to a 20% increase in overseas investment in Land Securities since January.

However, he added: "We haven't really seen enough new vehicles coming to market and if I'm an investor, I'm looking for excitement."