College Dorm Dividends

As a dividend growth investor, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting income investment opportunities. This usually leads me down the path of your typical dividend aristocrats but every once in a while you come across an interesting sector or business segment that a) you never thought existed and b) could potentially fulfill a void in an overall dividend income portfolio.

I thought I already knew every type of real estate development company out there and REIT type that existed. A while back I wrote an overview about timber REITs and recently have been reading about some buys among our fellow dividend bloggers in EPR Properties (EPR), an entertainment, recreation and eduction REIT. Who knew you could invest in water parks, ski resorts and golf courses? When we typically think of REITs we automatically tend to gravitate to the more well known REIT types such as healthcare, industrial, retail and even office. But did you know you could invest in college dormitories?

College dorm investing has been very hot so far this year and is essentially dominated by just two players. Of course, a low interest rate environment helps any real estate related business as borrowing and development costs are cheaper but another tail wind is seemingly pushing this real estate segment along: Aging and worn out existing dormitory facilities many of which are at least 50 years or older. It’s funny to think of aging as a tailwind for any industry. Typically we cite an aging baby boomer population to boost healthcare REITs in the coming decades but aging college dormitories present the same long term opportunities. With that being said, let’s take an overview of the two prominent players in the college dorm space.

First up is American Campus Communities, Inc. (ACC), the nation’s largest owner and manager of student housing. ACC currently yields 3.2% but seems a bit pricey at current levels with a P/FFO of 23. It’s five year average P/FFO is 19 and with a significant run up in 2016 this stock is clearly on a hot up trend. In fact, ACC is up about 28% this year alone and has an annualized five year total return of 10.6%.

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Disclosure: Long None.

 
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Somesh Ramnani 8 months ago Member's comment

Wow never knew you could do that! Can you explain what you mean by "With literally thousands of crumbling dorm facilities across the U.S. it looks like these two REITs have a lot more runway to put up impressive growth numbers."? Thanks

Keith Park 8 months ago Author's comment

I just meant that there are a lot of student housing buildings that are very old and in need of serious repair or perhaps even being demolished. These two REITs seem to have found a nic niche in the student housing space either by developing on campus housing or building adjacent apartment units.

Somesh Ramnani 8 months ago Member's comment

Makes sense. Thanks