Net lease REITs own stand-alone properties leased to tenants on long-term, triple net leases—meaning the tenant pays all the expenses for the property, including taxes, insurance, and maintenance, and the property owner does not have to deal with the rising costs associated with these expenses.
Typically, net lease contracts are long-term, with built-in rent escalators. Net lease REITs own properties with a wide range of uses, including grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores, restaurants, fitness centers, and retailers such as home improvement centers and auto parts stores.
These REITs have become very popular with conservative investors. The popularity of these stocks tends to have them priced for low yields; however, the current market downturn provides a rare opportunity to buy into high-quality net-lease REITs at attractive starting yields.
Here are three net lease REITs to consider.
Realty Income Corporation (O) is the largest net lease REIT, with a $37 billion market cap. The company, which bills itself as The Monthly Dividend Company®, owns 11,400 properties with over 1,100 different clients. Companies in 72 various industries use Realty Income’s properties. The company pays its investors monthly dividends, and the dividend has grown every quarter for 25 years. Dividend growth averaged 5.6% per year over the last decade. Historically, the shares carried an average yield of around 4%. Anytime the yield for O gets to 5%, it is a buying opportunity—and as of this writing, the shares yield 5.0%.
The second-largest net lease REIT, W.P. Carey, Inc. (WPC), has a market value of $14.4 billion. WPC owns 1,390 properties leased to 386 tenants. This REIT differentiates itself from others in the sector, with 33% of its properties in Europe and 50% of its square footage in industrial and warehouse properties. W.P Carey converted to REIT status in September 2012, and its dividend has increased every quarter since the conversion. In recent years, annual dividend growth has been modest, at one to two percent per year. The shares currently yield 5.8%, compared to less than 5% a couple of months ago.
With a $7.2 billion market cap…
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