Mid-America Apartment Communities (NYSE: MAA) and Education Realty Trust (NYSE:EDR) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, profitability, institutional ownership, risk and dividends.

Dividends

Mid-America Apartment Communities pays an annual dividend of $3.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.4%. Education Realty Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.3%. Mid-America Apartment Communities pays out 156.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Education Realty Trust pays out 339.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Mid-America Apartment Communities has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years and Education Realty Trust has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years.

Volatility and Risk

Mid-America Apartment Communities has a beta of 0.34, suggesting that its share price is 66% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Education Realty Trust has a beta of 0.44, suggesting that its share price is 56% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

93.1% of Mid-America Apartment Communities shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.3% of Mid-America Apartment Communities shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.5% of Education Realty Trust shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for Mid-America Apartment Communities and Education Realty Trust, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Mid-America Apartment Communities 0 5 7 0 2.58
Education Realty Trust 1 5 6 0 2.42

Mid-America Apartment Communities presently has a consensus target price of $110.80, suggesting a potential upside of 7.74%. Education Realty Trust has a consensus target price of $41.60, suggesting a potential upside of 15.11%. Given Education Realty Trust’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Education Realty Trust is more favorable than Mid-America Apartment Communities.

Profitability

This table compares Mid-America Apartment Communities and Education Realty Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Mid-America Apartment Communities 16.73% 4.22% 2.40%
Education Realty Trust 11.33% 2.01% 1.32%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Mid-America Apartment Communities and Education Realty Trust’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Mid-America Apartment Communities $1.13 billion 10.38 $212.22 million $2.22 46.32
Education Realty Trust $288.97 million 9.47 $44.92 million $0.46 78.57

Mid-America Apartment Communities has higher revenue and earnings than Education Realty Trust. Mid-America Apartment Communities is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Education Realty Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Mid-America Apartment Communities beats Education Realty Trust on 12 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Mid-America Apartment Communities

Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. is a multifamily focused, self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company owns, operates, acquires and develops apartment communities primarily located in the Southeast and Southwest regions of the United States. It operates through three segments: Large market same store, Secondary market same store and Non-Same Store and Other. Its Large market same store communities are communities in markets with a population of at least one million and at least 1% of the total public multifamily REIT units that it has owned. Its Secondary market same store communities are communities in markets with populations of more than one million but less than 1% of the total public multifamily REIT units or markets with populations of less than one million that it has owned. Its Non-same store communities and other includes recent acquisitions and communities in development or lease-up communities.

About Education Realty Trust

Education Realty Trust, Inc. (EdR) is a self-managed and self-advised real estate investment trust (REIT). The Trust is engaged in developing, acquiring, owning and managing collegiate housing communities located near university campuses. The Trust operates through three segments: collegiate housing leasing, development consulting services and management services. The Trust develops collegiate housing communities for its own account and also provides third-party development consulting services on collegiate housing development projects for universities and other third parties. As of December 31, 2016, the Trust owned 64 collegiate housing communities located in 22 states containing 32,729 beds in 12,294 apartment units on or near 38 university campuses. As of December 31, 2016, the Trust provided third-party management services for 22 collegiate housing communities located in 11 states containing 11,767 beds in 4,214 apartment units on or near 17 university campuses.

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