Investors Real Estate Trust IRET — better known as IRET — recently announced the acquisition of a multifamily property named Westend in Denver, CO. The company shelled out $128.7 million for purchasing this community which was constructed in 2015 and has 390 homes.

Advantageously located in downtown Denver on 11.6 acres, Westend is next to Denver’s downtown park system along the Platte River. It offers easy access to wide range of retail and employment localities. It has around 343,138 rentable square feet within 15 apartment buildings.

Moreover, with its location between the high-demand neighborhoods of Lower Downtown, Lower Highlands and River North Art District, the property is likely to command much attention and experience high occupancy. In fact, the property is already 93.5% occupied, currently.

Notably, the Denver market has grabbed the attention of well-educated workers in knowledge-based industries. Its economy is healthy and diverse. This makes the acquisition a strategic fit for IRET which intends to strengthen its presence in the region.

In fact, together with Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver is a crucial market where IRET intends to boost its portfolio and achieve operating efficiencies. Earlier, the company closed the buyout of a 274-home apartment community — Dylan — in Denver.

Besides IRET fortifying its presence in the region, well-known residential REIT AvalonBay Communities, Inc. AVB also forayed into the Denver metropolitan area with the acquisition of a 252-unit apartment home community — The Lodge Denver West — which was completed in 2016. The company acquired this property in Lakewood, CO, for around $76.8 million.

In the past, IRET has made concerted efforts to transmute into a focused multifamily company. The company had been disposing senior housing, commercial, medical office and other non-core properties over the past one-and-a-half year. The company owned interests in 89 multifamily properties comprising 13,786 apartment homes as of Jan 31, 2018.

IRET carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). In the past month, the stock has gained 9.1%, outperforming the industry’s rally of 2.3%.

Stocks Worth a Look

Investors can also consider other top-ranked stocks in the REIT space like Arbor Realty Trust ABR and Extra Space Storage Inc. EXR, each carrying a Zacks Rank of 2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Arbor Realty Trust’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 FFO per share has been revised 2.3% upward to 90 cents over the past two months. Its share price has risen 5.2% in six months’ time.

Extra Space Storage’s FFO per share estimates for the current year inched up 2% to $4.59 in a month’s time. Its shares have gained 10.6% over the past six months.

Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.

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