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APTS vs. IRT: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now?

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Investors looking for stocks in the REIT and Equity Trust - Residential sector might want to consider either Preferred Apartment Communities (APTS) or Independence Realty Trust (IRT). But which of these two stocks is more attractive to value investors? We'll need to take a closer look to find out.

There are plenty of strategies for discovering value stocks, but we have found that pairing a strong Zacks Rank with an impressive grade in the Value category of our Style Scores system produces the best returns. The Zacks Rank is a proven strategy that targets companies with positive earnings estimate revision trends, while our Style Scores work to grade companies based on specific traits.

Preferred Apartment Communities and Independence Realty Trust are both sporting a Zacks Rank of # 2 (Buy) right now. This means that both companies have witnessed positive earnings estimate revisions, so investors should feel comfortable knowing that both of these stocks have an improving earnings outlook. But this is just one factor that value investors are interested in.

Value investors analyze a variety of traditional, tried-and-true metrics to help find companies that they believe are undervalued at their current share price levels.

The Value category of the Style Scores system identifies undervalued companies by looking at a number of key metrics. These include the long-favored P/E ratio, P/S ratio, earnings yield, cash flow per share, and a variety of other fundamentals that help us determine a company's fair value.

APTS currently has a forward P/E ratio of 12.54, while IRT has a forward P/E of 25.44. We also note that APTS has a PEG ratio of 1.79. This figure is similar to the commonly-used P/E ratio, with the PEG ratio also factoring in a company's expected earnings growth rate. IRT currently has a PEG ratio of 12.72.

Another notable valuation metric for APTS is its P/B ratio of 0.45. Investors use the P/B ratio to look at a stock's market value versus its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. By comparison, IRT has a P/B of 2.86.

These are just a few of the metrics contributing to APTS's Value grade of A and IRT's Value grade of D.

Both APTS and IRT are impressive stocks with solid earnings outlooks, but based on these valuation figures, we feel that APTS is the superior value option right now.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc. (APTS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Independence Realty Trust, Inc. (IRT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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