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IRET Buys Property in Denver and Minneapolis, Exits Topeka

Zacks Equity Research

In an effort to boost presence in its strategic markets, Investors Real Estate Trust IRET — better known as IRET — recently announced investments in Denver and Minneapolis.

Particularly, the company announced the acquisition of Lugano at Cherry Creek in Denver, CO. The company shelled out $99.25 million for purchasing this property which was constructed in 2010, and has 328 homes and 13,262 square feet of retail space on 14.2 acres of land.

Advantageously located centrally within the Denver metro area, Lugano at Cherry Creek offers easy access to wide range of employment localities. Therefore, the property is likely to command much attention and witness high occupancy.

Moreover, the company acquired FreightYard Townhomes & Flats in the North Loop area of Minneapolis, MN. This 96-home community has been purchased for $26 million. With superior amenities, FreightYard enjoys an advantageous location that is likely to help drive tenants’ attention. In fact, it is one block away from the Mississippi riverfront as well as close to Target Field, First Avenue, Target Center, Minneapolis Farmers Market, and the Minneapolis skyway system.

Notably, the Denver market has grabbed the attention of well-educated workers in knowledge-based industries. Its economy is healthy and diverse. In fact, together with Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver is a crucial market where IRET intends to enhance its portfolio and achieve operating efficiencies.

Meanwhile, IRET has closed on the sale of its entire Topeka portfolio for $82.75 million. The sell-off of this portfolio that comprised 1,042 multi-family homes is in line with the company’s strategy to monetize assets in secondary markets. This gives the company scope to redeploy proceeds for assets with better growth potential in its strategic growth markets.

In the past, IRET has made concerted efforts to transmute into a focused multi-family company. The company has disposed senior housing, commercial, medical office and other non-core properties, and through disciplined capital recycling, the company has increased exposure to target markets in Minneapolis and Denver, which augurs well for long-term profitability. The company owned interests in 88 apartment communities, comprising 13,975 apartment homes as of Jun 30, 2019.

IRET currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). In the year-to-date period, shares of the company have outperformed the broader industry. While the stock has surged 49.2%, the Zacks Real Estate Market has gained 21.9% during this period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


 
Other Key Picks

Investors can also consider some similar-ranked stocks from the real estate space like Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. ARE, Equity Residential EQR and Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. MAA.

Alexandria Real Estate’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 funds from operations (FFO) per share has moved marginally north to $6.98 in the past three months.

Equity Residential’s FFO per share estimate for the current year moved 0.3% north to $3.45 over the past month.

Mid-America’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for the ongoing year’s FFO per share climbed marginally to $6.30 in a month’s time.

Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represent funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.

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