2 More Yield Plays For 2014

Includes: EDR, GPT
by: Bret Jensen

Yesterday I penned an article of how I see the investment landscape for income investors in the New Year. I reviewed various high-yield sectors and offered some suggestions for good yield plays in 2014. I wish to follow up on that article with two more attractive high yield Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that should be on income investors' lists in the New Year. Both sell for less than $10 a share.

Gramercy Property Trust (NYSE:GPT) is a small real estate investment trust (~$420mm market capitalization). Over the last year the company has exited the risky CDO business, hired an institutional quality management team and is transforming the company into an office industrial focused triple net REIT with an asset management arm.

This REIT has been in the news recently. Compass Point reiterated its "Buy" rating on the stock this week and raised its price target a buck to $7.50 a share. The company also closed on a half dozen small acquisitions and it received a $12mm "bonus" management fee from KBS. It has also been the subject of some speculation that it could be a buyout candidate for a larger player.

The REIT also recently resumed paying on its preferred shares. Gramercy does not pay a current dividend but Compass Point believes the company will initiate a dividend in 2014 and by 2015 will have a 40 cents-a-share-annual payout, which would be a ~7% yield at the current stock price. Insiders have made a couple of small buys over the last two months as well.

Education Realty Trust (NYSE:EDR) is one of America's largest owners, developers and managers of collegiate housing. The REIT owns or manages 67 communities in 24 states with more than 37,000 beds. Education Realty Trust is one of the few companies that saw its stock decline in 2013. It should benefit as "tax loss selling" abates after the start of the New Year.

EDR yields 5% and this REIT has doubled its payouts since 2010. This is another REIT like Gramercy where numerous insiders have made small purchases in the second half of 2013 as the stock has declined.

The REIT is showing good growth. Revenues should be up over 25% this fiscal year and analysts believe over 15% growth is in the cards for FY2014. FFO (Funds from Operations) should increase almost 20% in 2013 with another 15% to 20% increase projected for 2014. Given growth, the stock offers solid valuation at under 14x forward FFO.

Disclosure: I am long EDR, GPT. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.