What do you think of when you hear the phrase "dividend stocks"? For many investors, the answers probably include something along the lines of "low-growth" and maybe even "boring." Those descriptors apply to quite a few dividend stocks, but not all of them.
I can think of one stock that offers a relatively high dividend yield that's anything but low-growth and boring. In my view, it's arguably the one dividend stock most likely to double by 2022. The stock I have in mind is Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR).
How the stock can double
Innovative Industrial Properties (IIP) ranks as the leading real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on the medical cannabis industry. It's the first and, so far, only cannabis-focused REIT to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
I like companies with simple and solid business models. IIP checks both boxes. The company buys properties from medical cannabis operators, and then leases those properties back to the operators. Those leases nearly always are for long durations: The weighted-average remaining lease term for IIP's properties is around 16 years.
If you think a cannabis-focused REIT stock can't double in a short period of time, think again. Take a look at IIP's performance over the last three years.
My view is that IIP can easily double (or more) by the end of 2022. How? All IIP has to do is keep doing what it's been doing -- i.e., reinvesting any cash it accumulates into new properties to lease back to medical cannabis operators. At the end of 2018, IIP owned 11 properties. A year later, that number jumped to 46; today, it stands at 62.
There are two reasons why I think IIP will keep growing. First, the U.S. cannabis industry is smoking hot. Thirty-three states have already legalized medical cannabis. More could do so in the upcoming November elections. Second, the Federal Reserve Board intends to keep interest rates near zero through 2023. That means IIP's borrowing costs will remain low.
An added bonus
I fully expect IIP's number of properties to at least double by the end of 2022, driving its revenue, earnings, and stock price higher in the process. And, as they say on the TV infomercials, "But wait... there's more!"
Remember that IIP is a REIT. That means the company must return a minimum of 90% of taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends. So if IIP's earnings double or more within the next 27 months, so will its dividend payout.
Here's the great thing: IIP's dividend yields north of 3.7% right now. Investors who buy the stock now could very well have an effective yield of more than 7% in a little over two years. Sure, the stock's appreciation would likely keep the dividend yield from rising to that level. However, anyone who bought the stock at the current price would receive much higher dividends from their initial investment.
By the way, IIP's dividend has grown more than its share price over the last three years. Quite a bit more, actually.
Dividends boost total returns. IIP stock really wouldn't have to double by the end of 2022 for investors to double their initial investment, especially with dividend increases along the way.
What could get in the way
Are there any potential gotchas? There are risks that apply to any stock, such as scandals and major geopolitical crises. I also think there's another possible stumbling block that could reduce IIP's prospects of doubling by 2022: marijuana legalization in the U.S.
IIP has enjoyed so much success partly because it doesn't have significant competition from big players. Larger REITs have stayed away from the cannabis industry because of federal anti-marijuana laws. But if cannabis is legalized at the federal level, it could pave the way for more companies to enter the market. This increased competition would likely cause the lease rates charged to medical cannabis operators to fall.
It's possible that the U.S. could be on the path to legalize medical cannabis at the federal level and change laws to recognize states' rights to enforce their own recreational marijuana laws. My view is that's exactly what will happen if the Democrat Party retakes the White House and the Senate.
However, even if more rivals come onto the scene, I still think IIP has a pretty good chance of doubling before 2022 is over. While U.S. marijuana legalization could increase competition for the company, it would also likely expand IIP's market opportunities significantly. IIP should be the exact opposite of a boring, low-growth company over the next couple of years.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.