Invest in Boardwalk REIT for Long-Term Growth

Real estate is one of the all-time best investments that investors can make, and this is especially true in the hot real estate market that major urban areas are in.

For those investors looking to invest in real estate, REITs can be the next best thing. One REIT with great potential is Boardwalk REIT (TSX:BEI.UN), the largest residential landlord in the country.

Meet Boardwalk

Boardwalk owns approximately 33,000 apartments across Canada. A good chunk of those locations are in Alberta, but the company also has locations in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. Boardwalk’s properties mainly consist of mid to large apartment buildings and community residential centres focused near major urban areas.

Like many other REITs, Boardwalk pays out a distribution monthly to investors. That distribution is currently set to $0.19 per share, giving the stock an impressive yield of 4.06%.

Year-to-date, the stock is up by 16.73%, and there’s still more room for the stock to grow, contrary to concerns regarding the concentration of units in Alberta. The oil-rich province is still dealing with the fallout from the crash in oil prices and a weakened economy.

With the bulk of Boardwalk’s properties in Alberta, naturally there is some concern from investors as to whether or not the occupancy rates in Boardwalk’s properties will drop. Some of that concern stems from the weakened market in Alberta, Boardwalk’s exposure to that market, and the overheating real estate market in other areas of country, specifically Toronto and Vancouver.

During the first quarter, rents dropped by 3.3% in the province over the same quarter last year, but not all investors are convinced that the stock will drop.

Boardwalk hopes to offset further drops by introducing a number of incentives to tenants.

Boardwalk expands and offers specials to tenants

Boardwalk has negotiated favourable packages and discounts to residents on internet and phone services. The strategy has worked well in the past, and now Boardwalk is stepping up its efforts to keep tenants by offering free renovations.

The company is also taking advantage of the weakened market in Alberta to expand its footprint. Boardwalk recently acquired a Calgary-based 238-unit community called Auburn Landing. The community is a combination of one- and two-bedroom units that will add more than 205,000 square feet of space to Boardwalk’s portfolio.

Boardwalk currently trades at $55.15, up by 16% year-to-date. Despite this increase, the stock is down by 5% over the course of the past 12 months.

In my opinion, Boardwalk represents a unique opportunity for investors looking to invest in a REIT for the long term. The company continues to maintain high occupancy and rates and expand the total number of properties in its portfolio.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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