One thing that the real estate implosion of 2007 and 2008 did was to put a screeching halt on real estate activity, for years. With the exception of deep-pocketed hedge and private equity funds and high net worth private investors that scooped up dirt-cheap properties, most people were left in a very bad situation. The good thing about big corrections is they tend to even out markets over time, and real estate is no exception.
Ten years down the road, some Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) locations are booming, where there is affordability and very strong economic fundamentals. In fact, Texas, Florida and North Carolina represent 21% of the 97 MSAs showing those characteristics, according to a new research report from Jefferies.
More importantly for investors, some top companies are expected to thrive from the expected home price appreciation, as it is a true wealth-effect metric like the stock market. The Jefferies team has a long list of stocks poised to benefit, and we zeroed in on some of their top picks, which are all rated Buy.
This is a top consumer discretionary company that is in 66% of the top MSAs. At Home Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HOME) currently operates over 100 warehouse-style home furnishing stores in 29 states. The company utilizes low-cost big-box locations (120,000 square feet on average) with five to six times the floor space of competitors to offer over 50,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) per store with 20,000 new SKUs introduced annually.
As the “fast fashion” of home décor, At Home produces lower-price, lower-quality products that mimic designs of higher-end brands to cater to price-conscious consumers who enjoy frequently changing up the look of their homes.
The Jefferies price target for the stock is $24, and the Wall Street consensus estimate is $22.80. Shares closed Friday at $21.88.
Casey’s General Stores
This is a hot consumer staples stock that Jefferies is positive on in these areas. Casey’s General Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: CASY) and its subsidiaries operate convenience stores under the name Casey’s General Store in approximately 10 Midwestern states, including Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.
The company operates approximately 1,930 such stores, as well as two distribution centers through which it supplies grocery and general merchandise items to its stores. Its general store typically carries over 3,000 food and nonfood items. The stores sell regional brands of dairy and bakery products, and approximately 90% of the stores offer beer. Its nonfood items include tobacco products, health and beauty aids, school supplies, housewares, pet supplies and automotive products.
Shareholders receive a 0.96% dividend. Jefferies has a $139 price objective, and the consensus price target is $119.58. The stock closed last Friday at $108.03.
This company has posted some very solid numbers and remains a compelling buy. CubeSmart (NYSE: CUBE) is a self-administered, self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on the leasing, management, acquisition and selective development of self-storage facilities.
As of the first quarter of 2017, the company’s self-storage facilities are located in 22 states throughout the United States and the District of Columbia. The property portfolio aggregates 32.9 MSF, comprised of 476 owned facilities. CubeSmart also manages another 356 self-storage facilities as part of its third-party management program.
Investors receive a 4.4% distribution. The $30 Jefferies price target compares with the consensus target of $28.44. The shares closed last Friday at $24.52.
Fortune Brands Home & Security
With construction and new homes booming in these top markets, this is another great play. Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. (NYSE: FBHS) is a leading building products company, manufacturing and selling cabinets; faucets, shower heads and other plumbing products; doors; and residential and commercial locks and safes.
Approximately 85% of sales occurred in the United States, with 8% in Canada and 4% in China. Residential R&R accounts for roughly 68% of the company’s end market exposure, with the remaining 32% largely attributable to residential new construction.
Shareholders are paid a 1.12% dividend. The Jefferies price target is $76. The consensus target is $69.53, and shares closed Friday at $64.36.
This company remains the undisputed leader in the home improvement retail category. Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,270 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.
Home Depot stores sell various building materials, home improvement products, and lawn and garden products, as well as provide installation, home maintenance, and professional service programs to do-it-yourself, do-it-for-me (DIFM) and professional customers.
Home Depot shareholders receive a 2.27% dividend. Jefferies has set its price target at $182, and the consensus target is $170.73. The stock closed Friday at $156.64.
The common trait these companies all have is high exposure to the hot markets around the United States. With demand for homes far outpacing supply in many of these markets, the customer demand for ancillary-related items is expected to increase exponentially.