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How Should You Analyze REIT Stock Public Storage (NYSE:PSA)?

Casey Hall

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Public Storage is a US$36b large-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Glendale, United States. REITs are basically a portfolio of income-producing real estate investments, which are owned and operated by management of that trust company. They have to meet certain requirements in order to become a REIT, meaning they should be analyzed a different way. Below, I’ll look at a few important metrics to keep in mind as part of your research on PSA.

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Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of PSA’s earnings compared to net income. This term is very common in the REIT investing world as it provides a cleaner look at its cash flow from daily operations by excluding impact of one-off activities or non-cash items such as depreciation. For PSA, its FFO of US$2.0b makes up 97% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NYSE:PSA Historical Debt February 7th 19

Robust financial health can be measured using a common metric in the REIT investing world, FFO-to-debt. The calculation roughly estimates how long it will take for PSA to repay debt on its balance sheet, which gives us insight into how much risk is associated with having that level of debt on its books. With a ratio of 138%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as minimal risk. This would take PSA 8.69 months to pay off using operating income alone, which is fast since debt is usually a multi-year commitment.

I also look at PSA’s interest coverage ratio, which demonstrates how many times its earnings can cover its yearly interest expense. This is similar to the concept above, but looks at the upcoming obligations. The ratio is typically calculated using EBIT, but for a REIT stock, it’s better to use FFO divided by net interest. With an interest coverage ratio of over 100x, PSA is generating more than enough funds from its borrowings to cover its upcoming payments.

In terms of valuing PSA, FFO can also be used as a form of relative valuation. Instead of the P/E ratio, P/FFO is used instead, which is very common for REIT stocks. In PSA’s case its P/FFO is 18.43x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is slightly overvalued.

Next Steps:

In this article, I’ve taken a look at Funds from Operations using various metrics, but it is certainly not sufficient to derive an investment decision based on this value alone. Public Storage can bring about diversification for your portfolio, but before you decide to invest, take a look at the other aspects you must consider before investing:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for PSA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PSA’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is PSA worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether PSA is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.