Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) and Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:WRE) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, valuation, dividends, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, earnings and profitability.

Dividends

Liberty Property Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.9%. Washington Real Estate Investment Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.2%. Liberty Property Trust pays out 67.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Washington Real Estate Investment Trust pays out 400.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Liberty Property Trust has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Liberty Property Trust and Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Liberty Property Trust $746.71 million 8.04 $356.81 million $2.37 17.18
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust $313.26 million 7.23 $119.33 million $0.30 96.20

Liberty Property Trust has higher revenue and earnings than Washington Real Estate Investment Trust. Liberty Property Trust is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Liberty Property Trust and Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Liberty Property Trust 1 5 2 0 2.13
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust 1 1 2 0 2.25

Liberty Property Trust presently has a consensus target price of $42.67, indicating a potential upside of 4.78%. Washington Real Estate Investment Trust has a consensus target price of $31.00, indicating a potential upside of 7.42%. Given Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is more favorable than Liberty Property Trust.

Risk and Volatility

Liberty Property Trust has a beta of 0.89, indicating that its stock price is 11% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust has a beta of 0.94, indicating that its stock price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

91.4% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 85.5% of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.5% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.6% of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Liberty Property Trust and Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Liberty Property Trust 47.78% 11.41% 5.69%
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust 7.10% 2.10% 0.98%

Summary

Liberty Property Trust beats Washington Real Estate Investment Trust on 11 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Liberty Property Trust Company Profile

Liberty Property Trust (the Trust) is a self-administered and self-managed Maryland real estate investment trust (REIT). The Trust’s assets are owned directly or indirectly, and substantially all of the Trust’s operations are conducted directly or indirectly, by its subsidiary, Liberty Property Limited Partnership (the Operating Partnership). The Company’s segments include Carolinas/Richmond; Chicago/Milwaukee; Florida; Houston; Lehigh/Central PA; Minnesota; Philadelphia; Southeastern PA; United Kingdom, and Other, which includes Arizona; Atlanta; Cincinnati/Columbus/Indianapolis; Dallas; DC Metro; New Jersey; Southern California, and other. The Company owns and operates industrial properties nationally and owns and operates office properties in a focused group of office markets. Additionally, the Company owns certain assets in the United Kingdom. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned and operated 450 industrial and 55 office properties totaling 86.0 million square feet.

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust Company Profile

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is a self-administered equity real estate investment trust. The Company’s business consists of the ownership and operation of real property in the greater Washington metro region. The Company owns a diversified portfolio of office buildings, multifamily buildings and retail centers. The Company’s segments include office, multifamily and retail. The Company’s office properties provide office space for various types of businesses and professions. The Company’s multifamily properties provide rental housing for individuals and families throughout the Washington metro region. Its retail properties are typically grocery store anchored neighborhood centers that include other small shop tenants or regional power centers with various junior box tenants. As of April 4, 2017, it owned a diversified portfolio of 50 properties, totaling approximately 6.0 million square feet of commercial space and 4,480 residential units, and land held for development.

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