Despite volatile conditions in the debt and equities markets and the fact that mortgage industry observers believe the country is at a peaking real estate cycle, the ratings outlook for real estate investment trusts (REITs) is likely to remain stable through 2001, Moody's Investors Service said last week.

At the UBS Warburg Global Real Estate Conference in Munich, Lesia Bates, a vice president and senior analyst at Moody's, said, "U.S. REITs' and REOCs' growing emphasis on customer service and use of technology to improve efficiencies coupled with their declining tolerance for risk should keep ratings stable for the next one-and-a-half to two years, barring a major economic shock."

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