After a volatile year for many asset classes, real estate investment trusts – or REITs – are back in the spotlight. REITs, which invest in income-producing real estate such as shopping centers, housing developments and hospitals, had a largely positive earnings season last quarter, and analysts say some will remain resilient, even in a recession. “We view second-quarter REIT earnings as attractive,” Wells Fargo Investment Institute said in a note last week. “Despite a relatively challenging quarter, real estate investment trusts (REITs) were able to generate attractive growth in funds from operations per share and same-property net operating income.”[ads1]; It noted that the REIT industry had a 14.2% year-over-year growth in funds from operations per share – a key measure of earnings used by REITs. Tech REITs Looking ahead, Wolfe Research highlighted that tech REITs, focused on data centers and cell towers, could be particularly resilient in a tough economic environment. “Tech REITs (to their advantage in an economic downturn) tend to have rental growth that does not coincide with broader economic growth,” Wolfe Research analysts wrote in a recent note. Citi indicated in a Sept. 9 report that it was overweight data center REITs. It singled out Equinix Reit and Digital Realty Trust as trusts to watch, and said growing interest in a “hybrid cloud” infrastructure – a combination of both public and private clouds – should support continued IT outsourcing. It was also positive on cell tower REITs, highlighting American Tower REIT and SBA Communications REIT in particular. The bank said the tower’s business model remains well positioned to grow from ongoing investment by mobile operators. Healthcare REITs Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley noted in a recent report that healthcare REITs had outperformed the overall market this year, down 7% year-to-date as of the end of August. By comparison, the MSCI US REIT index was down 18% over the same period, and the S & P 500 lost around 17%. “Given demographic tailwinds, significant room for occupancy to recover to pre-Covid levels, emerging pricing power and limited new supply, we believe excess returns can continue,” the investment bank said. It said it was most bullish on senior housing, given the estimated 70 million baby boomers ages 58 to 76 who made up 21% of the U.S. population last year. The bank cited OECD estimates that the US 75-and-over cohort will grow to around 34 million by 2030, from 24 million in 2021. “As this population ages and sells homes to transition to senior housing, demand is tailwind for seniors. housing over the rest of the decade could be the strongest we’ve ever seen,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote. The bank picked Welltower , a senior housing REIT, giving it a $90 price target — or about 16% potential upside. “WELL has the highest exposure to senior housing, the highest occupancy upside potential and more execution certainty,” Morgan Stanley said. If a recession materializes, the bank noted that around the time of the global financial crisis, Welltower’s occupancy declined “modestly” in 2009, and was flat in 2010.” – CNBC’s Jasmin Suknanan contributed to this report.