Updated to correct BB&T 52-week high.
Essex Property Trust
"ESS's CEO, Michael Schall, commented that we are in the 3rd or 4th inning of the recovery," Citi analysts wrote in a March 12 report. "ESS expects a strong 2012, a very strong 2013, and a strong 2014. Overall, a slow and steady recovery with a low cost of capital is a good operating environment. Thus far in 2012, operations are accelerating after the typical seasonal slowdown experienced in the winter. While not ready to update guidance, ESS remains on track as they believe they are on the same seasonal path as last year and early results make them even more confident on the outlook. In general, seasonality in the business has become more pronounced given the proliferation of price optimizers. ESS does not see supply as a key issue for at least the next several years. We are currently at a 25 year low in total supply - which includes for sale and for rent. Given the long entitlement process on the West coast, there will be plenty of signs of oncoming supply."Shares of Essex Property Trust hit a 52-week high Tuesday of $158.51. The stock's 52-week low of $111.25 was set on Oct. 4. Essex Property Trust trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 60.9 times; the average for residential real estate investment trusts is 47.53. For comparison, AvalonBay Communities (AVB) has a lower forward P/E of 45.16. Sixteen of the 26 analysts who cover Essex Property Trust gave the stock a hold rating. Nine analysts rated the stock buy and one gave it a sell rating. TheStreet Ratings gives Essex Property Trust a C grade and hold rating. The stock has risen 12.28% year to date.
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