Publicly registered direct investment programs raised about $7 billion last year-about 90% of which came from real estate programs.

   The figure was just shy of the $7.6 billion in sales racked up in 2003, which was a 15-year record high, according to The Investment Program Association.
   Overall sales of registered direct investment programs have risen dramatically since 2002, when the market totaled $4.3 billion.

   Real estate sales totaled $6.7 billion, of which $6.3 billion were sales of non-traded REITs.
   "Income-oriented direct investments are benefiting from demographic trends and the changes in investor attitudes accompanying them," says Larry Goff, chairman of the Investment Program Association. "Baby boomers approaching their retirement years are progressively less interested in the total return emphasized by other vehicles and increasingly concerned about the current income their investments produce."