(Bloomberg) -- Deals by real estate investment trusts totaled $108 billion this year through September, beating the annual record as ample capital fueled transactions in the recovering economy, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.  

The U.S. deal surge signals the beginning of a new cycle emerging from the pandemic-related economic halt, according to Sheheryar Hafeez, a managing director in the capital markets group at JLL. 

“There is renewed confidence in the runway ahead of us in 2022 and beyond,” said Hafeez, whose company released a report on REIT transactions Monday.

REIT mergers and acquisitions had plunged to $17 billion last year. Even before the pandemic, deals were slowing from the recent high of $86 billion in 2018 as investors worried about the decade-plus bull market coming to an end, according to Hafeez. The all-time high was $103 billion in 2006. 

REITs have outperformed the broader stock market this year after routinely beating earnings estimates. As of Oct. 1, the Bloomberg REIT Index had a total return of 23%, compared with 17% for the S&P 500.

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