Generally, investors view the current down market as a bad thing. I get it. I don't like seeing my portfolio lose its value any more than any other investor. But I also view the down market as a chance to find some major buying opportunities, particularly when it comes to dividend stocks.
Since dividend yields tend to have an inverse relationship with the stock's pricing, today's market drop means several high-quality dividend-paying companies are now offering ultra-high yields. Three stocks that have super-alluring dividend yields right now are EPR Properties (EPR -0.17%), Simon Property Group (SPG 0.54%), and Cousins Properties (CUZ 0.74%).
Let's take a closer look at these three companies and discuss why you'll regret not buying these dividend payers at these prices.
1. EPR Properties
EPR Properties is a real estate investment trust (REIT) specializing in owning and leasing experiential properties such as movie theaters, eat-and-play restaurants, gaming centers, ski resorts, and lodges.
It's likely no surprise that EPR Properties was hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for travel and experiential-related activities practically disappeared. This forced the company to slash its monthly dividend payments by two-thirds in 2020.
But demand for experiential activities made a big comeback over the past year. Total revenue in the second quarter increased by 28% year over year, while adjusted funds from operations (AFFO), a metric that is used by REITs the way other companies use earnings per share (EPS), grew by 73%.
The company hasn't fully returned to pre-pandemic performance levels, but it's certainly headed in the right direction. Its better-than-expected performance prompted management to raise the dividend by 61% this year -- pushing its yield to a super-high 8.2%.
There remain some near-term headwinds for the company to overcome, including a bankruptcy protection filing by one of its largest theater tenants and the risk of a recession slowing experiential spending. But the REIT seems more than capable of overcoming these challenges, thanks to its strong financial position and high liquidity. Today its price-to-FFO ratio is around 10.3 times, which means it's trading at very favorable pricing.
2. Simon Property Group
Simon Property Group is the largest owner of malls and outlet centers in the world, leasing retail space in over 400 premier shopping centers across the United States, Asia, and Europe. Like EPR Properties, Simon Property Group has suffered from the fall of retail during the global pandemic. Several of its largest tenants filed bankruptcy, and the lack of in-person traffic in its malls forced the company to cut its dividend by 38% back in the spring of 2020.
But demand is returning. In the second quarter of 2022, the REIT saw small but positive year-over-year gains in its FFO, net operating income (NOI), and occupancy levels, prompting the company to raise its guidance for the full year 2022 and increase its dividend again.
If economic spending slows, malls could be in for another round of trouble, but there's safety in knowing the company's dividend payout ratio is super-conservative at 60%. And it is sitting on a massive pile of cash, around $8.5 billion, which is more than enough to pay off its near-term debt maturities through 2025.
Market volatility and concern over the future of malls have pushed its share price down to an incredibly cheap price-to-FFO of 11 times, and its dividend yield is around 6.2% today.
3. Cousins Properties
Cousins Properties is an office REIT that owns and leases high-end class A office space in eight strategic markets across the sunbelt of the United States. The office industry is still on its slow path to recovery in a post-pandemic world. Many employers are choosing to embrace work-from-home opportunities or hybrid work models, resulting in less demand for office space across the country.
Thankfully, Cousins Properties' sunbelt markets are some of the highest-demand cities for office space with abundant job opportunities. Its latest earnings saw a small but positive increase in FFO compared to the previous year. Its net rent per square foot grew by nearly 12% while it executed new leases on 588,000 square feet. Cousins Properties is definitely still battling decades-high vacancy rates across its portfolio, but its occupancy levels are consistently improving.
Population migration trends favor the eight sunbelt cities it operates in. It's simply a matter of time before recovery is achieved and its performance returns to more normalized levels of growth. Long-term investors looking for reliable dividend income in the meantime can look toward Cousins Properties' 5.3% yield.