The real estate sector includes companies that own, develop, and manage residential, commercial, and industrial real estate. Each of these three segments includes publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are portfolios of properties. REITS report their funds from operations (FFO), a metric of earnings particular to REITS. Some big names within the sector include American Tower Corp. (AMT), Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG), and Public Storage (PSA). The real estate sector, as measured by the Real Estate Select Sector ETF (XLRE), has performed roughly in line with the S&P 500 over the past 12 months. XLRE posted a 12-month trailing total return of 19.9% versus the S&P's 19.7% as of November 21, 2019.

Below, we'll take a look at the top three real estate stocks for best value, fastest earnings growth, and most momentum.

Real Estate Stocks with the Best Value

Here are the real estate stocks in the S&P 500 with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio in the sector. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Real Estate Stocks with the Best Value
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) 63.96 12.2 4.1
Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (HST) 16.85 12.1 10.8
CBRE Group Inc. (CBRE) 55.50 18.6 18.3
Source: YCharts
  • Vornado Realty Trust: Vornado Realty Trust is a REIT. The trust owns, manages, and leases properties primarily located in the New York City metropolitan area.
  • Host Hotels & Resorts Inc.: Host Hotels & Resorts operates as a REIT engaged in the management of luxury and upper-upscale hotels. The company recently announced the appointment of Julie Aslaksen to the role of Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary.
  • CBRE Group Inc.: CBRE Group is a provider of real estate and investment services, including landlord advisory, asset management, finance, real estate investment banking, and project management services. The company recently announced new assignments for several of its key leaders, effective at the beginning of 2020.

Real Estate Stocks with the Fastest Earnings Growth

Here are the real estate stocks in the S&P 500 with the highest year-over-year earnings per share (EPS) growth for the most recent quarter. Rising earnings show that a company’s business is growing and is generating more money that it can reinvest or return to shareholders.

Real Estate Stocks with the Fastest Earnings Growth
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%)
Welltower Inc. (WELL) 84.84 34.4 574.1
Prologis Inc. (PLD) 91.55 57.8 53.8
Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) 136.89 56.9 45.0
Source: YCharts
  • Welltower Inc.: Welltower operates as a REIT that invests in seniors housing and healthcare real estate properties.
  • Prologis Inc.: Prologis operates a REIT that owns, operates, and develops industrial real estate properties worldwide. The company also leases modern distribution facilities to manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, third-party logistics providers, and other enterprises. The company announced late last month that it had agreed to acquire Liberty Property Trust in a $12.6 billion deal as a way to improve its presence in the U.S. amid the boom in e-commerce.
  • Crown Castle International Corp.: Crown Castle International is a REIT that owns, operates, and leases towers and other infrastructure for wireless communications.

Real Estate Stocks with the Most Momentum

These are the real estate stocks in the S&P 500 that had the greatest total return over the past 12 months.

Real Estate Stocks with the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Equinix Inc. (EQIX) 568.76 48.5 54.1
Kimco Realty Corp. (KIM) 21.44 9.1 48.0
SBA Communications Corp. (SBAC) 240.75 27.1 43.1
S&P 500 (SPX) N/A N/A 19.7
Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) N/A N/A 19.9
Source: YCharts
  • Equinix Inc.: Equinix operates as a REIT engaged in the provision of colocation space and related services. The company provides customers with access to a selection of business partners and solutions based on their colocation, interconnection, and managed IT service needs. The company announced earlier this month that it would be opening a new data center in Warsaw worth $34 million.
  • Kimco Realty Corp.: Kimco Realty is a REIT specializing in shopping center acquisitions, development, management, and operation of open-air shopping centers.
  • SBA Communications Corp.: SBA Communications operates as a REIT that owns and operates wireless communications tower structures, rooftops and other structures that support antennas used for wireless communications. The company announced quarterly FFO of $2.15 per share for the third quarter, beating consensus estimates of $2.08 per share.