9 Best REITs to Buy for COVID-19 Protection

Here are nine of the best REITs to buy not just for their COVID-resistant business models, but also their financial strength and dividend coverage.

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The real estate sector has, simply put, been a loser in 2020.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs), which own and operate various types of properties and facilities, are off nearly 11% versus a 6% decline for the S&P 500. But there's a world of difference separating the sector's best REITs and its worst.

Much of the pain in real estate has come courtesy of retail-focused companies, many of which have lost more than 50% of their value as investors correctly surmised that stay-at-home orders would minimize shopping trips and curtail customer spending. Office REITs have experienced outsized struggles, too, as shuttered businesses are unable to pay rents, and as large-scale work-from-home strategies have investors rethinking the future of office space.

Not every REIT sector has been equally affected, however. Some REITs are riding out the pandemic shutdowns relatively unscathed – and some are even benefiting from the recent sea changes.

However, while defensive business models are an important characteristic to have when determining REITs to buy, other qualities should be considered, too. Solid balance sheets are a must. Conservative payouts, which leave room for dividends to be easily covered in the event of a shock, and raised in the future when all is well, are ideal, too.

Here are nine of the best REITs to buy not just for their durable businesses, but also their financial strength and dividend coverage.

Data is as of May 27. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price.

Lisa Springer
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Lisa currently serves as an equity research analyst for Singular Research covering small-cap healthcare, medical device and broadcast media stocks.