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Maryland REITs: Premier Choices for the Free State

In the heart of the Mid-Atlantic, Maryland stands out as a beacon of economic vitality. Known as the Free State, Maryland’s diverse economy and strategic location make it a hub for real estate investment opportunities. Among these, Maryland REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) are gaining prominence. In this article, we will explore some premier investment choices in the Free State.

Best Maryland REITs - Featured Image

Key Takeaways – Best Maryland REITs Chart

REIT Market Cap Dividend Yield (TTM) Industry
$13.93 Billion
Hotel & Motel
$8.40 Billion
$7.51 Billion
Healthcare Facilities
$6.76 Billion
$2.88 Billion
$1.80 Billion
Hotel & Motel
$1.65 Billion
$936.44 Million

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST)

  • Market Capitalization: $13.93 Billion
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 2.87%
  • Industry: REIT – Hotel & Motel
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST) is an S&P 500 company. It is one of the foremost owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels.

The firm is known for its partnerships with several premium brands, including Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Hyatt, Fairmont, Hilton, Four Seasons, Swissôtel, ibis, Novotel, and independent brands. These partnerships are crucial to Host Hotels & Resorts’ business model, allowing it to offer a diverse range of hospitality experiences to its guests.

As of the latest information, the company now owns 77 hotels, encompassing about 42,000 rooms. These properties are strategically situated across 20 top U.S. markets, ensuring a strong presence in critical locations.

The strategic approach of Host Hotels & Resorts involves a disciplined allocation of capital and aggressive asset management. This strategy enables the company to maximize shareholder value while maintaining a portfolio of high-quality lodging properties.

Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT)

  • Market Capitalization: $8.40 Billion
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 4.25%
  • Industry: REIT – Retail
  • Headquarters: North Bethesda, Maryland

Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT), another S&P 500 index member, specializes in properties located primarily in major coastal markets, spanning from Washington, D.C. to Boston, and extending to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The company’s investment approach is rooted in its commitment to long-term, sustainable growth by targeting communities where the demand for retail space outstrips supply. This approach focuses on investing in locations with high-income demographics and dense populations, which offer more excellent stability and growth potential.

Besides, Federal Realty’s strategy involves creating and managing urban, mixed-use neighborhoods. These developments integrate retail, residential, and office spaces, creating vibrant communities that serve as destination experiences. Examples of such developments include Santana Row in San Jose, Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, and Assembly Row in Somerville. These projects are designed to attract a diverse mix of tenants and residents, thereby driving foot traffic and ensuring a steady income stream.

Federal Realty’s portfolio comprises 102 properties, housing approximately 3,300 tenants across 26 million square feet. The company has increased its quarterly dividends for 56 consecutive years, marking the longest record in the REIT industry.

Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. (OHI)

  • Market Capitalization: $7.51 Billion
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 8.78%
  • Industry: REIT – Healthcare Facilities
  • Headquarters: Hunt Valley, Maryland

Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. (OHI) is a notable REIT that primarily invests in the long-term healthcare industry, focusing on skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. Its portfolio extends across various regions in the United States and the United Kingdom, reflecting its international reach.

Omega’s assets are managed under a triple-net lease structure, a common practice in the REIT industry, providing a diverse range of healthcare companies the flexibility to operate these facilities effectively.

Omega’s investment strategy is centered on a commitment to the long-term healthcare sector, recognizing the growing demand for such facilities due to demographic shifts and an aging population.

Financial prudence is a cornerstone of Omega’s strategy. The company maintains a strong balance sheet and a conservative approach to leverage, ensuring financial stability and the ability to capitalize on investment opportunities as they arise.

AGNC Investment Corp. (AGNC)

  • Market Capitalization: $6.76 Billion
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 14.44%
  • Industry: REIT – Mortgage
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland

AGNC Investment Corp. (AGNC), headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is a REIT specializing in mortgage REITs. Founded in 2008, AGNC primarily invests in residential mortgage pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations. These investments are unique because they are guaranteed either by U.S. Government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or by U.S. Government agencies.

AGNC operates its investments predominantly through a structure known as collateralized borrowings, typically structured as repurchase agreements. This financial strategy is designed to maximize the returns from their investments in mortgage-backed securities.

With a focus on providing private capital to the U.S. housing market, AGNC plays a significant role in enhancing liquidity in the residential real estate mortgage markets. This, in turn, supports homeownership in the U.S., aligning the company’s operations with broader economic and social objectives.

COPT Defense Properties (CDP)

  • Market Capitalization: $2.88 Billion
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 4.46%
  • Industry: REIT – Office
  • Headquarters: Columbia, Maryland

COPT Defense Properties (CDP), formerly Corporate Office Properties Trust, is a REIT specializing in owning, operating, and developing properties catering to the United States Government defense installations and missions. Established in 1988, COPT Defense Properties focuses on properties in critical locations that support national security, defense, and information technology (IT) related activities. This strategic positioning allows them to serve tenants primarily engaged in priority national security activities.

Additionally, COPT is an S&P MidCap 400 Company. As of mid-2023, COPT’s core portfolio consisted of 192 properties, encompassing 22.9 million square feet and was 95% leased.

The company’s commitment to supporting critical national security missions through its real estate investments sets it apart from other REITs that might focus on more traditional commercial or residential properties.

RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ)

  • Market Capitalization: $1.80 Billion
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 2.68%
  • Industry: REIT – Hotel & Motel
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland

RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ), based in Bethesda, Maryland, is a self-advised, publicly traded REIT focusing on the hotel and motel industry. Established with a strategic emphasis on owning primarily premium-branded, high-margin, focused-service, and compact full-service hotels, RLJ Lodging Trust stands out in the REIT sector for its specific market segment.

The company’s portfolio is substantial, consisting of 96 hotels with approximately 21,200 rooms, strategically located across 23 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, RLJ Lodging Trust holds an ownership interest in one unconsolidated hotel with 171 rooms.

RLJ Lodging Trust’s corporate governance, as of January 1, 2024, is indicated by an ISS Governance QualityScore of 4. This score is a comprehensive measure of the company’s corporate governance practices, with specific pillar scores in areas such as Audit, Board, Shareholder Rights, and Compensation. 

In early 2024, this company demonstrated a dynamic presence in the stock market, with a market capitalization of $3.613 billion and a PE ratio of 37.26.

JBG SMITH Properties (JBGS)

  • Market Capitalization: $1.65 Billion
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 5.27%
  • Industry: REIT – Office
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland

JBG SMITH Properties (JBGS), based in Bethesda, Maryland, is a REIT focusing on the Washington metropolitan area. Established in 1957, the company has a rich history that began as a real estate law practice by three attorneys, Gerald J. Miller, Donald A. Brown, and Joseph Bernard Gildenhorn, in Rockville, Maryland. It later transitioned into a real estate development company, with Benjamin A. Jacobs joining the firm in 1962.

As a REIT, JBG SMITH Properties focuses on owning, operating, investing in, and developing assets concentrated in urban infill submarkets around Washington, D.C. Its mixed-use operating portfolio comprises approximately 20 million square feet of office, multifamily, and retail assets, with a significant portion being Metro-served. The company’s emphasis on placemaking is designed to create amenity-rich, walkable neighborhoods.

Saul Centers, Inc. (BFS)

  • Market Capitalization: $936.44 Million
  • Dividend Yield (TTM): 5.98%
  • Industry: REIT – Retail
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland

Saul Centers, Inc. (BFS), headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is a self-managed, self-administered equity REIT. It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1993 and operates under the ticker symbol BFS. The company specializes in the ownership, operation, and management of community and neighborhood shopping centers, along with mixed-use properties, primarily in the metropolitan Washington, D.C./Baltimore area.

As of recent reports, Saul Centers manages a diverse real estate portfolio that includes 61 properties. This portfolio comprises 50 community and neighborhood shopping centers, seven mixed-use properties with approximately 9.8 million square feet of leasable area, and four non-operating land and development properties. The company’s strategic focus on the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area contributes to over 85% of its property operating income.

The company’s strategic emphasis on high-density urban areas positions Saul Centers uniquely in the REIT market, distinguishing it from other players that might focus on more diversified geographical distributions.

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