Are There Better Opportunities in the REIT Space Than One Liberty Properties?

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Written By Elizabeth Monroe


  • One Liberty Properties (OLP) is a diversified REIT with a substantial focus on industrial and retail/service-oriented properties.
  • Specialized REITs typically outperform diversified ones, but each diversification strategy merits individual evaluation.
  • Despite its enticing dividend yield, OLP has shown modest AFFO per share growth, no dividend per share growth, and maintains a high AFFO payout ratio.

Investment Thesis

Credits: DepositPhotos

One Liberty Properties (NYSE: OLP) possesses notable strengths:

  • Strong business metrics
  • High dividend yield
  • Ongoing shift towards an industrial-oriented portfolio

However, it also exhibits weaknesses that cannot be ignored:

  • Low AFFO per share growth
  • Lack of dividend per share growth
  • High AFFO payout ratio

OLP operates as a diversified REIT with a portfolio heavily weighted towards industrial properties (~65.9% of contractual rental income) and retail properties (~24.4% of contractual rental income). The remainder of its rental income is derived from health & fitness centers, restaurants, and theaters.

Diversified vs. Specialized REITs

Specialized REITs often outperform diversified ones by focusing on their core competencies. For instance, Realty Income’s (O) diversification into new sectors may dilute its strength in traditional areas like retail.

However, diversification strategies vary, and some, like VICI Properties’ (VICI) expansion into experiential properties or EPR Properties’ (EPR) portfolio restructuring, can enhance value.

Performance and Market Trends

Over the past three years, OLP’s stock price has declined by 17.8%, reflecting broader challenges in the REIT sector, particularly in industrial properties. However, year-to-date, the stock has shown a 6.5% increase, prompting a closer examination of its potential portfolio fit.

One Liberty Properties – Overview

Business Focus

OLP generates the majority of its revenue from industrial properties, which have faced challenges due to supply-demand dynamics. Industry reports indicate signs of improvement with reduced construction starts and increasing demand driven by demographics and e-commerce.

Portfolio Composition

While industrial properties dominate OLP’s portfolio, retail properties contribute a significant portion of income. The market vacancy rates for retail properties are lower than those for industrial properties, bolstering OLP’s overall portfolio performance.

Capital Allocation Strategy

OLP aims to increase the share of industrial properties in its portfolio through targeted acquisitions and disposals. Recent acquisitions have focused exclusively on industrial properties, signaling a strategic shift towards this segment.

Financial Position

OLP maintains a well-laddered maturity schedule for its mortgage debt, minimizing exposure to fluctuating interest rates. However, its fixed charge coverage ratio remains a concern at 1.5x, indicating vulnerability to adverse financial conditions.

Dividend Policy and Growth

Despite a high dividend yield of approximately 7.8%, OLP has not increased its dividend in recent years. The forward-looking AFFO payout ratio stands at 93.8%, raising questions about sustainability given the company’s financial metrics.

Risk Factors

Weaknesses in OLP’s credit metrics and historical underperformance in AFFO per share growth pose risks amidst a high-interest rate environment. Tenant-related financial issues could further impact OLP’s ability to maintain dividends and investor confidence.

Valuation and Comparative Analysis

Using a multiple valuation approach, OLP’s forward-looking P/FFO ratio of 13.2x appears elevated compared to peers like WPC (11.5x), BNL (10.6x), STAG (15.1x), NNN (12.8x), PLD, EPRT, and ADC. Given its financial and operational challenges, this valuation may not be justified.

High Dividend Yield Prospect

Credits: DepositPhotos

While One Liberty Properties (OLP) offers strengths such as a high dividend yield and strategic portfolio restructuring towards industrial properties, significant weaknesses undermine its attractiveness.

These include stagnant dividend growth, low AFFO per share growth, and a high AFFO payout ratio compounded by valuation concerns.

Key Takeaways:

  • OLP’s current valuation may not align with its financial and operational performance metrics.
  • Investors seeking exposure to REITs may want to consider specialized alternatives with stronger growth prospects and more sustainable dividend policies.
  • OLP’s strategic shift towards industrial properties warrants monitoring, but caution is advised, given its financial leverage and market challenges.



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