Dividend Watch: Making Income From Healthcare Facility REITs (OHI, MPW)

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We have been featuring many REITs for their high dividends on our daily “Dividend Watch” pieces.  One sector which has not been tabulated and screened is the ability to make dividend payments off of the healthcare sector.  Hospitals, rehab care centers, and doctor’s offices.  Yep, acting as the landlord to the broken healthcare system…  Uncle Sam and insurance providers are not exactly telling the medical providers that they have to find a way to cut down on their rents compared to the other cost cuts.

Omega Healthcare Investors Inc (NYSE: OHI) and Medical Properties Trust Inc. (NYSE: MPW) may not be the largest of the healthcare REITs out there but they screen out as offering the highest payouts of income for dividend investors.

Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. (NYSE: OHI) has a market cap of about $2.3 billion, and at $22.90 its 52-week trading range is $17.50 to $24.00.  It trades close to 900,000 shares per day and offers income-seekers a dividend yield of 6.5%.  The trust kept its dividend at $0.30 during the recession but has hiked its payouts three times since late-2009 and pays out $0.37 per quarter now. Maryland-based Omega offers lease or mortgage financing to qualified operators of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, and rehabilitation and acute care facilities.

Medical Properties Trust Inc. (NYSE: MPW) is rather small at $1.3 billion in market cap.  At $11.50, its 52-week trading range is $7.98 to $11.74 and it trades about 600,000 shares a day.  Its dividend  was actually cut during late-2008 to $0.20 from $0.27 and it has not changed since.  This could be a dividend hike candidate, but we would not look for as high of a payout as before because it already yields about 7% for its investors. Alabama-based Medical Properties buys, develops, and invests in general acute care hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehab hospitals, medical office buildings, wellness centers, and general acute care facilities.

Finding anyone who thinks that healthcare is too expensive is very easy.  Most consumers will say that the cost of basic services, the cost of drugs,, the cost of surgeries and hospitalization, and the cost of everything in between is just too damned high.  In most of our ‘cost analysis’ surveys and research papers we have seen in the last decade we have yet to find any report that attributes the high cost of healthcare due mostly to the healthcare providers’ office and facility rental costs.

JON C. OGG