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NexPoint Residential Trust, Inc. (NYSE:NXRT)'s Could Be A Buy For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Readers hoping to buy NexPoint Residential Trust, Inc. (NYSE:NXRT) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 12th of September will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of September.

NexPoint Residential Trust's upcoming dividend is US$0.28 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.10 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that NexPoint Residential Trust has a trailing yield of 2.4% on the current share price of $46.25. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

Check out our latest analysis for NexPoint Residential Trust

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. NexPoint Residential Trust is paying out an acceptable 68% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies. That said, REITs are often required by law to distribute all of their earnings, and it's not unusual to see a REIT with a payout ratio around 100%. We wouldn't read too much into this. With the recent loss, it's important to check if the business generated enough cash to pay its dividend. If NexPoint Residential Trust didn't generate enough cash to pay the dividend, then it must have either paid from cash in the bank or by borrowing money, neither of which is sustainable in the long term. Over the last year it paid out 52% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

NYSE:NXRT Historical Dividend Yield, September 7th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. NexPoint Residential Trust reported a loss last year, but at least the general trend suggests its income has been improving over the past five years. Even so, an unprofitable company whose business does not quickly recover is usually not a good candidate for dividend investors.

NexPoint Residential Trust also issued more than 5% of its market cap in new stock during the past year, which we feel is likely to hurt its dividend prospects in the long run. It's hard to grow dividends per share when a company keeps creating new shares.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, 4 years ago, NexPoint Residential Trust has lifted its dividend by approximately 7.5% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

We update our analysis on NexPoint Residential Trust every 24 hours, so you can always get the latest insights on its financial health, here.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy NexPoint Residential Trust for the upcoming dividend? First, it's not great to see the company paying a dividend despite being loss-making over the last year. On the plus side, the dividend was covered by free cash flow. Overall, it's not a bad combination, but we feel that there are likely more attractive dividend prospects out there.

Ever wonder what the future holds for NexPoint Residential Trust? See what the four analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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.