The real estate sector includes companies that own, develop, and manage residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Each of these three real estate segments includes publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). REITs are vehicles that legally allow individual investors to buy shares in commercial real estate portfolios that receive income from a variety of properties. REITs' key metric is funds from operations (FFO), a measure of earnings particular to the industry. Some big names within the sector include American Tower Corp. (AMT), Public Storage (PSA), and Welltower Inc. (WELL). Real estate stocks, as represented by the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLRE), have underperformed the broader market with a total return of -16.6% compared to the S&P 500's total return of -10.2% over the past 12 months. These market performance numbers and the statistics in the tables below are as of March 25.

Here are the top 3 real estate stocks with the best value, the fastest earnings growth, and the most momentum.

Best Value Real Estate Stocks

These are the real estate stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. 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.

Best Value Real Estate Stocks

 

Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) 33.90 6.5 2.1
Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG) 54.73 16.8 8.0
Apartment Investment & Management Co. (AIV) 26.33 3.9 8.3

Source: YCharts

  • Vornado Realty Trust: Vornado Realty Trust is a REIT that owns office, retail, merchandise mart properties, and other real estate and related investments.
  • Simon Property Group Inc.: Simon Property Group is a REIT that owns, develops, and manages retail real estate properties throughout the world. The company announced last week that it would close all of its retail properties in the U.S. until the end of March 29 to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Apartment Investment & Management Co.: Apartment Investment & Management is a self-administered and self-managed REIT. The company owns and manages apartment communities.

Fastest Growing Real Estate Stocks

These are the real estate stocks with the highest year-over-year (YOY) 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.

Fastest Growing Real Estate Stocks

 

Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%)
Apartment Investment & Management Co. (AIV)  26.33 3.9 2,810
Digital Realty Trust Inc. (DLR) 116.72 30.3 900.0
Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT) 76.08 5.8 170.4

Source: YCharts

  • Apartment Investment & Management Co.: See above for company description.
  • Digital Realty Trust Inc.: Digital Realty Trust is a REIT that owns and manages technology-focused real estate properties in the U.S. and internationally. The company announced earlier this month that it completed its merger with InterXion, a provider of carrier and cloud-neutral colocation data center services.
  • Federal Realty Investment Trust: Federal Realty Investment Trust is a REIT that owns, manages, and redevelops retail and mixed-use properties primarily located in affluent communities in different locations throughout the U.S. The company announced in February key promotions to its executive leadership team.

Real Estate Stocks with the Most Momentum

These are the real estate stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.

Real Estate Stocks with the Most Momentum

 

Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
SBA Communications Corp. (SBAC) 242.24 27.1 23.5
Equinix Inc. (EQIX) 545.89 46.6 23.1
Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) 123.71 51.6 2.0
S&P 500 (SPY) N/A N/A -10.2
Real Estate Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLRE) N/A N/A -16.6

Source: YCharts

  • SBA Communications Corp.: SBA Communications owns and operates wireless communications infrastructure. SBA Communications leases antenna space to various wireless service providers.
  • Equinix Inc.: Equinix is a REIT that provides 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. Equinix this month completed its acquisition of Packet, a bare metal automation platform.
  • Crown Castle International Corp.: Crown Castle International is a REIT that owns, operates, and leases shared wireless infrastructure. The company operates and leases cell towers and a network of fiber-optic cables throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.