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Real estate investment trust (REIT) dividend policies and dividend announcement effects during the 2008–2009 liquidity crisis are examined. Multinomial logit results indicate that REITs with higher market leverage or lower market-to-book ratios are more likely to cut dividends, suspend dividends or pay elective stock dividends. These results imply that mitigating going-concern risk is an important motive for REITs adjusting dividend policies during the crisis and support dividend catering theory where investor demand for dividends impacts corporate dividend policies. Moreover, REITs that cut or suspend dividends experience positive cumulative abnormal returns during the post-announcement period after controlling for the potential influence from simultaneous funds from operation announcements. The positive market response over the post-announcement period supports the notion that dividend decisions convey information to investors and is also consistent with the broad catering theory of dividend policy.