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Follow Buffett's Wisdom, Buy a Modular REIT

Brad Thomas

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As TheStreet's Dan Freed reported, American Capital Agency was one of the big losers in financial stocks Wednesday on concerns the Federal Reserve is nearing the time it will begin reducing its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program.

With the mortgage REIT meltdown continuing to unravel, where can a REIT investor find safe and reliable dividends without the volatility of Mr. Market?

In an article earlier this week, Spicing Your Portfolio With Small-Cap REITs, I explained that there is value in small-cap REITs that are "flying under the radar". As I wrote, "the small-cap REITs lack the same Wall Street coverage and investor interest can result in shares remaining undervalued -- especially in down markets -- for extended periods of time."

One such REIT that is flying under the radar is UMH Properties , an owner and operator of manufactured home communities. UMH commenced operations in 1968 and has been operating as a public company since 1985. The New Jersey-based REIT has a portfolio of 68 manufactured home communities containing approximately 12,800 sites located in Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Tennessee. In addition to leasing modular home sites, the company sells and finances homes to qualified residents through a wholly-owned subsidiary, UMH Sales and Finance.

Yesterday I caught up with UMH CEO Sam Landy. In the interview, Landy explains the reason Warren Buffett has invested in Tennessee-based Clayton Homes. Following Buffett ain't a bad thing!

In addition, Landy offers insight into UMH's unique brand of renting, selling, and financing modular homes. As a misconception to many, modular homes are not mobile homes and Landy helps explain the difference and more importantly, why investors should consider buying shares in the $185 million (market cap) small cap REIT.

UMH shares are trading at $10.22 with a spicy dividend yield of 7.05%. UMH is well-positioned to increase its dividend in 2013 or 2014. The company has a strategically-aligned footprint that should allow the REIT to capitalize on affordable housing lot rentals as well as sales and finance growth. The company is well positioned for the housing market rebound and with a portfolio occupancy of 81%, UMH shares have significant upside.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.