Thursday, February 2, 2023

Essex Property Trust (ESS) Dividend Stock Analysis

Essex Property Trust, Inc (ESS) is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily residential properties in California and the Pacific Northwest. Essex currently has ownership interests in 253 apartment communities comprising approximately 63,000 apartment homes.

This REIT is a dividend aristocrat, which has managed to increase annual dividends to shareholders since going public in 1994.

The last dividend increase occurred in February 2022, when Essex Property Trust hikedquarterly dividends by 5.26% to $2.20/share.

This REIT has managed to increase dividends by 7.20% annualized over the past decade. The pace of annualized dividend growth has slowed down to 4.90% over the past five years.


The REIT has managed to grow FFO/share from $6.71 to $14.24. It’s expected to generate $15.14/share in FFO in 2022.


Future growth in FFO/share will be a result of raising rents, buying new properties and keeping debt costs in check. Large portion of the debt is fixed rate with an average life of about 8 years. This bodes well in the current environment of potentially rising long-term rates. Existing properties should be fine, but acquiring new properties may come at higher interest costs. Financing further expansion could come at an increased equity dilution, which should be accretive for as long as yields on apartments is higher than yields on equity/debt.

Apartment rents are cyclical, as is demand. They are dependent in the short-run on job growth and the economic environment. In the long run they are driven by household formation, and economic trends. The west cost is a vibrant economy, and it would likely do great in the future. Owning existing properties may be a nice asset to have, as zoning and red tape may make it harder to build competing apartments nearby. On the other hand, some states like California have tenant friendly laws, which make it harder to evict tenants during downturns and cut into profitability.

Having scale of operations, and specialization into its markets could be a form of competitive advantage in my opinion.

The FFO payout ratio has ranged between 56% and 66% over the past decade. This means that growth in dividends has closely tracked growth in FFO/share over the past decade.

The number of shares outstanding has been largely flat over the past 5 – 7 years.



I find this REIT to be attractively priced at 15.70 times forward FFO and a dividend yield of 3.90%.

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