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What You Need To Know Before Investing In Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. (NYSEMKT:BRG)

Simply Wall St

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Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, Inc. is a US$332m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in New York, United States. REITs own and operate income-generating property and adhere to a different set of regulations. This impacts how BRG’s business operates and also how we should analyse its stock. In this commentary, I'll take you through some of the things I look at when assessing BRG.

View our latest analysis for Bluerock Residential Growth REIT

A common financial term REIT investors should know is Funds from Operations, or FFO for short, which is a REIT's main source of income from its portfolio of property, such as rent. FFO is a cleaner and more representative figure of how much BRG actually makes from its day-to-day operations, compared to net income, which can be affected by one-off activities or non-cash items such as depreciation. For BRG, its FFO of US$64m makes up 53% of its gross profit, which means over a third of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

AMEX:BRG Historical Debt, June 5th 2019

BRG's financial stability can be gauged by seeing how much its FFO generated each year can cover its total amount of debt. The higher the coverage, the less risky BRG is, broadly speaking, to have debt on its books. The metric I'll be using, FFO-to-debt, also estimates the time it will take for the company to repay its debt with its FFO. With a ratio of 5.0%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take BRG 19.99 years to pay off using just operating income, which is a long time, and risk increases with time. But realistically, companies have many levers to pull in order to pay back their debt, beyond operating income alone.

I also look at BRG'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 1.22x, BRG is not generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings. Typically, a ratio of greater than 3x is seen as safe.

I also use FFO to look at BRG's valuation relative to other REITs in United States by using the price-to-FFO metric. This is conceptually the same as the price-to-earnings (PE) ratio, but as previously mentioned, FFO is more suitable. BRG's price-to-FFO is 5.2x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is undervalued.

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. Bluerock Residential Growth REIT 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 BRG’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BRG’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is BRG 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 BRG 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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.