Boston Properties

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Don't let the name fool you -- Boston Properties' ( BXP) portfolio isn't all about New England. The $15 billion office REIT has interests in 157 properties all over the country, mostly concentrated in just five markets: Boston, New York, Princeton, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. BXP also owns several retail and residential buildings, as well as a hotel.

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In real estate, they say that location is everything -- and that's certainly been true for BXP. Solid positioning around those popular major metro areas was a major boon in the year's after the Great Recession; while rivals were struggling to keep occupancy rates up, BXP was able to leverage prime locations with stronger economies than the rest of the country. The firm took advantage of depressed prices to pick up some bargain-priced properties, and it also took advantage of low rates to develop new properties. That willingness to take calculated risks has been paying off for investors.

BXP is in solid financial shape, with $11.5 billion in debt offset by around $1.7 billion in cash and investments on its balance sheet. At first glance, that may seem like a high amount of leverage, but it's important to remember that since REITs are required to pay out nearly all of their earnings straight to investors, they can't shore up their balance sheets with retained earnings the way that regular corporations can.

Currently, BXP's earnings amount to a 2.55% dividend yield.

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