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This is Why Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS) is a Great Dividend Stock

Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.

While cash flow can come from bond interest or interest from other types of investments, income investors hone in on dividends. A dividend is that coveted distribution of a company's earnings paid out to shareholders, and investors often view it by its dividend yield, a metric that measures the dividend as a percent of the current stock price. Many academic studies show that dividends account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.

Equity Lifestyle Properties in Focus

Headquartered in Chicago, Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of -17.08% so far this year. The resort community operator is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.36 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.26%. This compares to the REIT and Equity Trust - Residential industry's yield of 2.53% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.45%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.64 is up 13.1% from last year. In the past five-year period, Equity Lifestyle Properties has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 10.24%. Any future dividend growth will depend on both earnings growth and the company's payout ratio; a payout ratio is the proportion of a firm's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Equity Lifestyle Properties's current payout ratio is 57%. This means it paid out 57% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for ELS for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is $2.74 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 8.30%.

Bottom Line

From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. However, not all companies offer a quarterly payout.

For instance, it's a rare occurrence when a tech start-up or big growth business offers their shareholders a dividend. It's more common to see larger companies with more established profits give out dividends. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, ELS presents a compelling investment opportunity; it's not only an attractive dividend play, but the stock also boasts a strong Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


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