Sun Communities (NYSE: SUI) and Associated Estates Realty (NYSE:AEC) are both finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, profitability, dividends, risk and institutional ownership.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Sun Communities and Associated Estates Realty, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Sun Communities 0 2 4 0 2.67
Associated Estates Realty 0 0 0 0 N/A

Sun Communities currently has a consensus price target of $92.00, suggesting a potential upside of 4.75%. Given Sun Communities’ higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Sun Communities is more favorable than Associated Estates Realty.

Profitability

This table compares Sun Communities and Associated Estates Realty’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Sun Communities 7.37% 2.76% 1.17%
Associated Estates Realty 60.04% 18.10% 7.71%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

93.6% of Sun Communities shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.2% of Sun Communities shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Sun Communities pays an annual dividend of $2.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.1%. Associated Estates Realty does not pay a dividend. Sun Communities pays out 362.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Sun Communities and Associated Estates Realty’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Sun Communities $833.78 million 8.36 $31.32 million $0.74 118.69
Associated Estates Realty N/A N/A N/A $1.20 23.96

Sun Communities has higher revenue and earnings than Associated Estates Realty. Associated Estates Realty is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Sun Communities, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

About Sun Communities

Sun Communities, Inc. is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company is a fully integrated real estate company, which, together with its affiliates and predecessors, has been in the business of acquiring, operating, developing, and expanding manufactured housing (MH) and recreational vehicle (RV). As of December 31, 2016, it owned and operated or had an interest in a portfolio of properties located throughout the United States and Ontario, Canada, including 226 MH communities, 87 RV communities, and 28 properties containing both MH and RV sites. The Company operates through two segments: Real Property Operations and Home Sales and Rentals. The Real Property Operations segment owns, operates, or has an interest in a portfolio, and develops MH communities and RV communities throughout the United States and is in the business of acquiring, operating, and expanding MH and RV communities.

About Associated Estates Realty

Associated Estates Realty Corporation is a self-administered and self-managed equity real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company is engaged primarily in the ownership and operation of multifamily apartment units. It specializes in multifamily ownership, operation, acquisition, development, disposition and property management activities. Its operating portfolio consists of approximately 49 apartment communities containing around 12,734 units in eight states that are owned, either directly or indirectly, through its subsidiaries. It also owns a commercial building in Los Angeles, California containing approximately 78,800 total square feet of office and commercial space. The Company also earns revenue from rental payments from the leasing of apartment units. It owns a taxable REIT subsidiary, which performs construction management services in connection with the development of multifamily properties that it owns, including consolidated and unconsolidated joint ventures.

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