With long-term Treasury yields stalling out and investors flocking to higher-yielding "safety" stocks, real estate investment trusts have "come back into vogue" on Wall Street, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday.
In particular, shares of retail-oriented REITs Simon Property Group, Federal Realty and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust have been outpacing their peers, benefiting from broader economic concerns as well as a somewhat unexpected resurgence in retail.
"Put it all together and these retail REITs have made a remarkable comeback here," the "Mad Money" host said. "But we have to ask ourselves: Can the rally continue?"
Cramer wasn't so sure, even as he acknowledged that all three companies were doing well.
Shopping mall owner Simon Property Group, for example, announced a $4 billion investment in May that would upgrade a host of its properties, introducing hotels, outdoor plazas and residences to their brick-and-mortar locations.
Simon's most recent earnings report also beat analysts' top- and bottom-line estimates, with management raising full-year funds from operations guidance (the equivalent of earnings guidance for a REIT).
"They’re not just sitting there waiting for the Amazon apocalypse," Cramer said. "Yep, the company’s doing pretty well, and they’re also rewarding you with a bountiful 4.5 percent yield here."
Fellow shopping mall operator Federal Realty is also "doing just fine," according to Cramer, focusing on mixed-use properties to transform shopping hubs to places where people can gather and spend time.
Mid-Atlantic retail REIT Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust has been in recovery mode after its management sold off 40 percent of its portfolio to refocus the company and reinvest in its top-performing assets.
Shares of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust have rallied roughly 20 percent from their April lows and yield 7.8 percent.
Cramer's not the only one who's noticed the retail REIT resurgence. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs analysts upgraded the entire cohort to "neutral" from "cautious," citing the group's apparent stabilization.
"Where do I come down? Look, it’s very hard to hate these retail property owners when the business of retail is so strong," Cramer admitted. "There is no brick-and-mortar apocalypse, at least not at the moment."
"Are these stocks worth buying here? Now, I can’t say I’m jumping-up-and-down enthusiastic — the REITs will go right back down if long-term interest rates begin to pick up again — but let’s just say, hey, I’m less negative," he continued. "I’ll definitely be watching them when they report in the next few weeks, but for the moment, I would only invest here if you’re very confident that long-term Treasury yields will stay down."