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Forget Dogecoin, This REIT Is a Better Buy

By Reuben Gregg Brewer – Nov 5, 2021 at 6:38AM

Key Points

  • Dogecoin is exciting, but it isn't the only exciting way to put your money to work.
  • Another "hot" sector is the marijuana space, which is still seeing rapid growth.
  • Innovative Industrial Properties lets you brag about owning a "pot stock" and collect a fast-growing dividend.

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You can get attractive growth potential and a growing dividend from this REIT, and you'll still have bragging rights about owning a hot name.

People talk about Dogecoin (DOGE -7.31%) and owning it can make you feel like you are a member of the "in" crowd. But emotions are a powerful, and sometimes dangerous, aspect of investing that people don't think about nearly enough. Indeed, Dogecoin's volatility alone should be enough to keep most investors away from it. If you are still tempted by Dogecoin, however, there's a better way to join an "in" crowd: real estate investment trust (REIT) Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR -0.34%). This landlord owns marijuana grow houses, has a dividend that's grown incredibly fast along with its rapidly expanding portfolio, and gives you bragging rights because you are putting money into a newsworthy and up-and-coming new sector. Here are four reasons why you should consider the stock.

1. A real business

There's nothing inherently good or bad about Dogecoin, but its value is basically derived from investors who believe it has value. There are no real assets behind it. Innovative Industrial Properties, on the other hand, owns physical assets -- 76 100%-leased properties with 7.5 million rentable square feet of space in them. Roughly 2.8 million of that number is currently under construction, so there's growth potential. The real estate investment trust's properties are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Artist's rendering of a marijuana leaf in a tiny shopping cart over a credit card and cash.

Image source: Getty Images.

These are real assets that support the rent-paying ability of real businesses. The company's average lease length is over 16 years, providing a strong underpinning to its revenues. Should something go wrong with any one of the company's tenants, it could release the property to another company or sell it. In other words, Innovative Industrial is a tangible, physical business with inherent value.

2. In a high-profile industry

Let's be honest, there are some companies that you would hesitate to talk to anyone about owning because they are just too boring. A utility stock is an example. But Innovative Industrial Properties owns marijuana grow houses, which is a pretty unique asset niche in which only a couple of other REITs play. It is a "pot stock," even though it doesn't grow or sell any marijuana itself. This is a relatively new industry that has been in the headlines for many years as marijuana is increasingly legalized in a state-by-state and country-by-country crawl across North America. So not only do you get to own real assets by owning Innovative Industrial, but you still get to be a part of a unique "club" with an interesting, newsworthy story to share.

3. With plenty of growth in the future

Marijuana sales in the United States increased from $13.2 billion in 2019 to $20.1 billion in 2020. Innovative Industrial expects that number to more than double by 2025, hitting as much as $45.9 billion. That's huge growth on top of a huge history of growth, largely attributable to the fact that the pot industry is still very new. 

IIPR Chart

IIPR data by YCharts

To be fair, Innovative Industrial's initial growth -- the stock is up 1,300% since its initial public offering (IPO) in late 2016 -- probably won't be repeated. However, that doesn't mean there's not a big opportunity here. For example, the stock is up roughly 130% over the past year. Given the growth potential in the underlying marijuana space, there's plenty of reason to believe there's an exciting future for Innovative Industrial as well.

It's worth noting that the REIT's adjusted funds from operations (FFO) increased from $0.67 per share in 2017, its first full year as a public company, to $5.00 per share in 2020. Adjusted FFO was $1.71 per share in the third quarter of 2021, which suggests an annual run rate of $6.84. So Innovative Industrial has proven it can grow along with the industry it serves.

4. And you'll get paid to own it

In addition to all of this, Innovative Industrial Properties also pays a dividend, providing a tangible return on your investment. As a REIT, it has to pass at least 90% of its taxable earnings on to investors, so this is a fundamental part of its business structure. Today the yield is around 2.2%. That's not huge, but it is a lot more than what you would get from owning Dogecoin or even an S&P 500 Index fund.

The dividend, meanwhile, has been increased every year since the REIT started paying it in mid-2017. The company's adjusted FFO growth is the main driver of that, with the dividend increasing from $0.15 per share per quarter to $1.50 per share per quarter. That's a massive increase in roughly five years. It probably won't repeat that trick, but dividend growth still looks fairly generous for this REIT, noting that one year ago the quarterly payout was $1.17 per share.

A better option for most investors

If you are like most people, being part of the "in" crowd feels good. Right now Dogecoin has a high profile and people are talking about it. But you would probably be better off owning a stock like Innovative Industrial, which is in a newsworthy sector, has a real business and material growth prospects, and is paying you a tangible return just for owning it. To be fair, the REIT isn't cheap today, but it has a lot more going for it than Dogecoin and its brethren. And while value-conscious investors might not want to buy Innovative Industrial Properties, those looking for fast-growing companies or companies with fast-growing dividends should give it a look.

Reuben Gregg Brewer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Innovative Industrial Properties. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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