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Forget Cash ISAs! A dividend growth stock I’d buy today and hold for 10 years

Royston Wild
Hand holding pound notes

For investors seeking chubby income flows from their investments, Watkin Jones (LSE: WJG) merits close attention. For the financial year to September 2020 the forward yield sits at 3.8%. Compare this plump reading with the best interest rate of around 1.5% that Cash ISA holders can expect, for instance, as well as the 3.3% forward average offered up by Britain’s mid-caps.

The state of the near-term yield isn’t the only reason why dividend chasers need to pay the construction giant close attention, though. Thanks to the rate at which Watkin Jones throws out cash, annual payouts have exploded in recent years and were up 15.2% in the last fiscal year alone.

And there’s plenty of reason to expect them to keep blooming, as recent trading details from the business this week showed.

Glad all over

The AIM-quoted company – which caters primarily to the student accommodation and buy-to-rent sectors – declared that “trading remained strong through the final quarter of the [fiscal] year” and that “all of the group’s business segments performed well and delivered on their operational objectives for the year.”

Watkin Jones has got the bit between its teeth and is making brilliant progress on all fronts. For the current financial year, all seven of its purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) developments, totalling 2,603 beds, have been sold. Another 1,928 beds spanning four schemes have been offloaded for fiscal 2021. Meanwhile the business has 159 build-to-rent (BtR) flats forward-sold for the present period and another 782 for the next financial year.

And there could be much, much more to come. According to Watkin Jones, “a number of other PBSA and BtR opportunities [are] in advanced stages of negotiation,” the successful conclusion of which would add an extra 2,025 student beds and 1,150 BtR apartments to the pipeline for delivery in the two years from fiscal 2021.

Share price strength

No wonder, then, that City analysts are expecting Watkin Jones to keep growing earnings by a healthy rate over the near term at least, with an 11% bottom-line rise currently being predicted. And there’s two further reasons to cheer this perky prediction: it results in a cheap forward price-to-earnings ratio of 14.5 times. It also leads to those aforementioned expectations that dividends will keep growing at a healthy rate.

A predicted 8.1p per share reward for the year just passed is predicted to rise to 9p in fiscal 2020, up 11.1% year on year, and as I said, a forecast that creates a bulky near-4% yield. The mid-cap looks in great shape to meet this figure, too, what with dividend cover sitting bang on the broadly accepted safety benchmark of 2 times and cash flow remaining strong.

Watkin Jones’s share price has rocketed 15% in the past six months and is now dealing at two-year peaks around 240p, though given its exceptional trading momentum and its undemanding forward earnings multiple I believe there’s plenty of scope for it to keep rising.

For investors seeking hot profits and dividend growth at low cost I reckon it’s a brilliant share to buy today.

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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Motley Fool UK 2019