The real estate investment trust, or REIT, industry is a fantastic place to find safe and reliable high-yield dividend stocks because of their subscription model. So, unlike other companies that have to innovate and market new products, REITs own portfolios of real estate, lease those properties to businesses, and then collect rent. This model is perfectly suited to generating consistent dividends.
However, all REITs are not created equal, and that is why you need to focus on the best. Today, I have three of them.
3. W.P. Carey (NYSE:WPC)
As of this past June, W.P. Carey owns a diverse portfolio of 853 single-tenant properties spread across the U.S. and Europe and divided between office, industrial, warehouse, retail, and even self-storage space. But what should really catch your eye is that W.P. Cary's leases average nine years.
The slow expiration of leases -- which is created by locking tenants into long-term commitments -- helps to keep W.P. Carey's occupancy at a ridiculously high 99% and creates the predictable income for supporting dividends. But most important, there is good reason to believe this will continue, and that is because W.P. Carey solves a problem for its tenants.
For many companies a great location is key to their success, but having millions of dollars tied up in real estate isn't ideal. So, W.P. Carey will acquire the property from a company and then rent it back to them -- and because the property is important to the seller's (now tenant) success, they are happy to sign, or resign, a long-term lease. It's a simple model, but when it is executed by a company that has spent more than 40 years perfecting it, the strategy generates cash like clockwork, and that is exactly what you want from a dividend stock that is currently yielding 6.4%.
2. Welltower (NYSE:WELL)
Formerly Health Care REIT, and currently yielding 4.7%, Welltower is more concentrated than W.P. Carey -- instead of owning a number of different property types the company is the leader in the U.S. healthcare real estate market.
The $24.5 billion company owns a portfolio of more than 1,400 properties focused on senior housing, post-acute care, and outpatient medical centers located in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., and it generates income by leasing these properties to operators that run the day-to-day business.
One of the beauties of Welltower's business is that 87% of its revenue comes from private pay sources. This is important because it reduces exposure to Medicaid and Medicare. Many seniors rely on these government programs, and if funding is reduced it could affect their ability to pay rent, which would impact operators' ability to cover rent, and you can see the problem. By focusing on private pay facilities, Welltower is insulated from this potential issue. Altogether, the big portfolio and stable source of income has allowed Welltower to steadily increase its dividend since 1990, and I see no signs of the company slowing down.
1. Stag Industrial (NYSE:STAG)
Similar to Welltower, this $1.3 billion company is the top dog in its industry, and currently owns 265 single-tenant industrial properties in 37 states across the U.S.
Besides its 7.2% yield, what is interesting about Stag is the company's investment approach. The management team views itself as value investors attempting to uncover hidden gems, which often means acquiring bargain properties selling below replacement cost. But here's the catch: Many of these assets have iffy tenants currently occupying them, and this creates risk as less reliable tenants are not always able to cover rent.
The solution for Stag is increased scale and diversification. The company has been growing assets at a mind-numbing 42% per year since it went public in 2011, and this had led to a more balanced portfolio. For instance, no tenant currently accounts for more than 3% of rent, no state contributes more than 9% of rent, and no industry makes up more than 12% of rent, and this reduces the risk of one bad apple spoiling the bunch, or a regional or industry downturn sinking the ship. Ultimately, Stag's increasingly diverse portfolio helps to generate a more predictable stream of cash flow the company needs to consistently support its monthly dividend.
Consistency is key
The safest dividend stocks are the ones that are able to consistently cover their dividend, and to do this they need a reliable source of cash flow. There are no certainties in investing, but W.P. Carey, Welltower, and Stag Industrial's subscription-like business models are perfect for generating consistent dividend income, and I think they are all good buys today.