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Easterly Government Properties (DEA)

Easterly is not the largest REIT on the market, but it stands out among its peers for a very simple reason: The company’s mission is to acquire, develop and manage commercial properties leased to the U.S. government.

In its latest investor presentation, the REIT said 98% of its lease income is “backed by full faith and credit of the U.S. government.” Few tenants are more reliable.

As of Dec. 31, Easterly’s portfolio consisted of 89 properties totaling 8.6 million square feet. They were 99% leased, with a weighted average remaining lease term of 9.7 years.

In July of 2021, the company raised its quarterly dividend payout to 26.5 cents per share. At the current share price, that translates to an annual yield of 5.1%.

While Easterly might seem like an obvious choice, given the caliber of its tenants, the stock is actually down 2% over the past 12 months — not particularly impressive considering that the S&P 500 gained around 10% during the same period.

And that could give contrarian investors something to think about.

While Easterly has received an average rating of Hold from Wall Street analysts, their average price target of $24.88 is 20% higher than where the stock sits today.

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Office Properties Income Trust (OPI)

As the name suggests, this REIT owns a lot of office buildings — its portfolio consists of 178 properties totaling 23.3 million square feet.

While real estate prices in the U.S. have been trending upward, OPI hasn’t gotten much investor attention.

Over the past 12 months, OPI shares have tumbled 12%.

But there is something that makes the company stand out: it has a quarterly dividend rate of 55 cents per share and an annual yield of 8.8%.

To put that in perspective, the average S&P 500 company yields just 1.4% at the moment.

Unlike Easterly, OPI is not a pure-play government landlord. But the U.S. government is the REIT’s biggest tenant, contributing 19.5% to its annualized base rent.

Its other top tenants include big names like Google parent company Alphabet, the State of California and Bank of America.

The company says it earns 62% of its revenue from investment grade tenants — that is, tenants that pose a low risk of default.

In Q4 of 2021, the REIT leased 702,000 square feet of space for a weighted average lease term of six years and a weighted average roll up in rent of 4%.

Just like Easterly, OPI has received an average rating of Hold from analysts but the best could be yet to come: the average price target on OPI is $31.50 – roughly 26% above the current levels.

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Fine art as an investment

Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.

That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.

Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.

On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.

Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.

Investing in art by the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol used to be an option only for the ultrarich. But with a new investing platform, you can invest in iconic artworks just like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do.

About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. Prior to joining the team, he was a research analyst and editor at one of the leading financial publishing companies in North America. An avid advocate of investing for passive income, he wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Toronto.

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