Best REIT stocks to buy in 2021

REITs – real estate investment trusts – are a popular way of gaining exposure to income-generating real estate. In this guide, we list our five favourite REITs and explain what makes them stand out from the competition.
By: Charlie Hancox
Charlie Hancox
Alongside his passion for trading, Charlie has represented Great Britain and won national championships as a water polo player,… read more.
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
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If you are looking for the best REITs to buy right now, look no further than this page. Our analysts have been scouring the market carefully to produce their top five picks, and we have also provided some analysis for each of them. Scroll down to get started.

What are the top REIT stocks to buy?

Below, you can find a table containing our current top five based on recent performance, prospects, level of diversfication, and many other key factors. If you want more information about the latest price of each REIT, click on the stock symbol link.

#Stock symbolCompany name
1NLYAnnaly Capital Management Inc.
2WPCW.P. Carey
3AMTAmerican Tower Corporation
4WYWeyerhaeuser Company
5GMREGlobal Medical REIT Inc.
List selected by our team of analysts, updated 21st October 2021.

1. Annaly Capital Management Inc. (NYSE: NLY)

Founded in 1997 by Michael A J Farrell and headquartered in New York, NLY is one of the world’s largest mortgage real estate investment trusts. The company has a diversfieid portfolio of assets including mortgage-backed securities, non-agency residential mortgage assets, and residential mortgage loans. Moreover, it also provides services as a broker-dealer.

The last five years have no been the best in terms of NLY’s performance, as COVID-induced lockdowns created huge difficulties in commerical real estate. However, the company has experienced a resurgence since then, and its revenue is back on the up.

What really sets Annaly Capital Management apart is its impressive dividend yield, which ranges from 7% to 10%. This makes NLY an excellent REIT for dividend stock investors because it provides stable, secure returns. The company’s scale – with total assets of over $130 billion – its recent market performance, and its lucrative dividends are all reasons it is on our list.

2. W.P. Carey (NYSE: WPC)

Incorporated in 1973 and based in New York, WPC is one of the biggest net lease REITs, with an enterprise value of around $18 billion. The company owns over 1,200 properties spread across North America, Europe and Japan, covering in excess of 150 million square feet in area. Moreover, the company leases its facilities to over 350 tenants and has achieved a 98% occupancy rate consistently, meaning its vast portfolio is consistently monetised.

Around half of W.P. Carey’s portfolio is comprised of industrai land warehouse properties, with some of its largest tenants incouding the Spanish government, Advance Auto Parts, U-Haul and Pendragon. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, WPC has been following an agressive acquisition strategy as it targets accelerated growth. Moreover, if the fund liquidates its last two non-traded real estate funds, it could have even more capital to play with.

The last five years have seen steady growth for W.P. Carey, though the dividend yield of well over 5% – which has increased every year since the company’s IPO in 1998 – helps to sweeten the deal for investors. All in all, the company is well deserving of a place on this list.

3. American Tower Corporation (NYSE: AMT)

Founded in 1995 and based in Boston, Massachusetts, AMT’s property portfolio primarily consists of wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure, with over 214,000 sites globally. Like W.P. Carey, American Tower Corp. has also tried to capitalise on the broader economic resuregence as we emerge from the pandemic. As a result, it has signifcantly expanded its cell tower network in recent years.

Investing in AMT gives you exposure to several different things; along with the real estate market, you also gain exposure to the growing communications sector as well as the blossoming 5G industry. With over $8 billion in annual revenue and 5,000 employees pushing the company forwards, CEO Tom Bartlett will be hoping AMT can go from strength to strength in the coming years.

In the last five years, American Tower Corporation’s market performance has been some of the best for a major REIT, and its dividend yield of just over 1% adds a nice bonus on top of the price growth. So, taking into account the diversity of the company’s portfolio, its exposure to rapidly growing industries, its recent performance and strong revenue, it is easy to see why AMT is on our list.

4. Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY)

Commencing operations in 1900 and based in Seattle, Washington, Weyerhaeuser is one of the largest private owners of timberlands around, and has experienced surging revenue in recent years. These days, WY owns 11 million acres of timberlands in the U.S and manages many other timberlands under long-term licences in Canada.

In 2020, WY generated $7.5 billion in net sales – a dramatic increase on the previous year, and laying the way for continued growth over the next decade. The company’s share price has performed reasonably well, and a near-2% dividend yield adds some consistent returns for shareholders. Moving forward, the company will be hoping its sustainable management of the timberlands and 9,400-strong workforce can power the company to new heights.

The key reason that WY is on this list is the speed of its revenue growth. If it can turn these returns into a sustained increase, Weyerhaeuser could be one of the best REITs to purchase right now.

5. Global Medical REIT Inc. (NYSE: GMRE)

Founded in 2011 and based in Maryland, United States, GMRE is the newest REIT on this list. This is another net-lease REIT, though this one is focussed on the healthcare inudstry. Using the capital of investors, Global Medical acquires purpose-built and highly specialoised healthcare facilties before leading them to healthcare providers with a substantial market share.

GMRE’s properties are used for purposes such as medical office buildings, surgery centers, rehab facilities, and acute care hospitals. Some of its main tenants are key players in the North American healthcare macro story, such as dialysis provider Fresenius Medical Care and post-acute services specialist Kindred Healthcare. With a diversfied portfolio and triple net leases, GMRE has been rapidly expanding its holdings in the last few years to over 150 properties.

The company’s share price has grown nicely in the last few years, and its dividend yield is also up to well over 5%, creating a compelling value proposition for prospective investors. With a high organic growth rate and more expansion on the cards, the Global Medical REIT sits comfortably within our top five.

Where to buy the best REIT shares

You can purchase REITs from a stock exchange just like you would with a regular stock or fund. The easiest way to do this is by signing up to a trustworthy broker and depositing funds. We have outlined some of our top picks below to help point you in the right direction.

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What is a REIT?

REIT stands for real estate investment trust. This is a company that owns, and usually operates, real estate that is generating income. Real estate is defined as a property consisting of its lands, the buildings on it, and any natural resources in the area.

Real estate investment trust will own a wide variety of commercial properties including, offices, hotels apartment complexes, hospitals, shopping centres, forests, and warehouses. They generate capital by renting, leasing and selling properties.

REITs trade on stock exchanges just like normal stocks and other funds such as ETFs, and when you buy into one, you are providing funds to a board of directors to make further acquisitions.

Are REITs a good investment?

If you are seeking exposure to the real estate market, especially if you don’t have the available capital to purchase your own properties, REITs can offer a convenient and affordable route to exposure.

As with any other form of trust or funds, REITs give you exposure to a diversified portfolio of commercial properties. So, if one retail trade or jurisdiction experiences difficulties that affect some properties, other properties within the REIT could pick up the slack and boost the performance of the overall trust.

Moreover, actively managed REITs give investors the chance to put their capital in the hands of experienced financial experts known as fund managers. This means that rather than making decisions for yourself, an expert is able to take the reigns and target returns.

Find out more about REITs by checking out the latest news articles about this particular industry in the section below.

Latest REIT news

Workspace Group plc (LON: WKP) said on Thursday it concluded fiscal 2021 with a pre-tax loss as the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic weighed on its property valuation. The company, however, expressed confidence that signs of recovery were evident in customer activity in recent months. Workspace shares opened more than 2%…
Prologis Inc. (NYSE: PLD) said on Monday that its profit and revenue in the fiscal first quarter came in better than expected. The company also raised its guidance for the full financial year on the back of robust demand. Prologis shares that you can learn to buy online…
Segro plc (LON: SGRO) said on Friday that its full-year pre-tax profit jumped 62% in 2020 due to increased property valuations. The company also relaunched its sustainability plan on Friday. Segro shares opened about 1.5% up on Friday and gained another 2% in the next hour. The stock is…
British Land Company plc (LON: BLND) posted a wider pretax loss for the fiscal first half on Wednesday. The company attributed its loss to the devaluation of its portfolio and a hit to revenue in recent months. Despite the dovish report, British Land Co. resumed dividend payments on Wednesday.
In an announcement on Wednesday, Workspace Group plc (LON: WKP) said it concluded the fiscal first half in loss and deferred its decision to pay a full-year dividend. The office space provider has taken a massive hit this year as the Coronavirus pandemic pushed its customers into downsizing or…
The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC) published its quarterly financial results on Tuesday that highlighted the company to have concluded its fiscal second quarter in loss that came in lower than what the experts had forecast. Its revenue and funds from operations (FFO), however, fell shy of the analysts’ estimates.

Fact-checking & references

Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.

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Charlie Hancox
Financial writer
Alongside his passion for trading, Charlie has represented Great Britain and won national championships as a water polo player, and as a budding film director, has… read more.