With the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite down 21%, 15%, and 30%, respectively, investors are on the lookout for stocks that can offer some reprieve in the down market.

Dividend stocks like real estate investment trusts (REITs) are an appealing buy in volatile markets because of the consistent income they can provide. Concern over rising interest rates has hit most REITs hard. But Agree Realty (ADC -0.62%) and Farmland Partners (FPI -2.84%) are among the few REITs that are up this year.

Here's a closer look at these two winning REITs and if they are a good investment in the current bear market.

Agree Realty

Often overshadowed by some of the bigger retail giants in the REIT industry, Agree Realty remains somewhat of an under-the-radar retail REIT. But that seems to be changing thanks to its impressive performance lately.

Year to date, Agree Realty is up 1%. At a time when tech stocks and other more popular REITs are down anywhere from 30% to 80%, a 1% gain is a huge achievement. Not to mention that Agree Realty has not only managed to outperform the S&P 500 over the last 10 years, but it's also outperformed its more popular peers Realty Income and Federal Realty Trust.

Agree Realty, which went public in 1994, owns and leases around 1,500 retail properties to long-term tenants across 47 states. Its diverse mix of tenants is in nearly every industry possible, with around 68% of its rents coming from institutional-quality tenants like Walmart, Dollar General, and Tractor Supply, its three biggest tenants. Aside from its core net-lease retail business, it also specializes in ground leases, which currently make up around 13.5% of its annualized base rents.

The company has stated it's planning to spend around $1.6 billion on acquisitions this year. This expansion shouldn't be an issue given Agree Realty has ample liquidity and a low net debt-to-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of 4.3 times, putting it in a strong financial position for growth.

Plus, thanks to its switch from quarterly dividends in 2021, investors can now receive consistent dividend income every month with its dividend return paying just over 3.7% right now.

Farmland Partners

Farmland Partners, the largest REIT specializing in the ownership and leasing of farmland, is making a big comeback after several challenging years. In 2018, it entered into a lawsuit against a short seller. In early 2022, roughly four years later, Farmland was declared the winner, but the long and expensive legal battle hurt share prices and forced the REIT to cut its dividends in the interim. Thankfully, things are looking up for the company.

Around March 2022, when inflation concerns were mounting, investors' interest turned to farmland for diversification into an essential and inflation-resistant commodity -- food. Year to date, Farmland Partners' share price is up over 12%. Coupled with its recovery from the lawsuit as well as its recent pivot toward more farmland brokerage services, the company is in a solid position for continued growth.

As of Q1 2022, Farmland Partners had interest and ownership in 186,000 acres of farmland across 19 states, which includes 25,000 acres of land managed by third parties. Its new management service is a pivotal part of its long-term growth model, which was kick-started with the acquisition of Murray Wise Associations, a farmland brokerage that handles farmland auctions and farm management.

Its dividend return is low at 1.5%, the same as the S&P 500. The company is shifting away from the higher dividend-paying REIT model in order to achieve faster growth. This means investors shouldn't expect much in terms of dividend raises, but given the movement of the stock this year already, there's a good chance its price will keep rising.