Alexandria Real Estate

01/23/2015 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Brad Thomas

Editor, Forbes Real Estate Investor

One often overlooked REIT sector is life sciences; here's a look at my favorite play in this market, observes Brad Thomas, the editor of Forbes Real Estate Investor.

Founded in 1994, Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE) was the first REIT to identify and pursue the laboratory niche.

As the first REIT focused on the life science real estate niche, Alexandria has assembled a First in Class portfolio of the highest quality assets in the world's top life science clusters.

The business model is somewhat of a hybrid play in that it’s not really in the office space or healthcare space.

Many life science tenants are academic and medical institutions, pharmas, biotechs, medical device companies, venture capital, and even government research.

Alexandria possessed a very strong record of increasing dividends into the great recession of 2008 ($1.86 in 2011, $2.09 in 2012, $2.61 in 2013, and $3.05 in 2014).

Earnings (or FFO) growth is strong and in 2014 the company should hit $5.19 per share (in AFFO), validating the strength of the company’s sound payout ratio.

Alexandria is trading at sound value (shares trading at $94.84) based upon the P/FFO multiple of 18.2 times. The dividend yield is 3.1% and I expect this stock to generate above average returns in 2015.

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