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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a five year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2017, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (NYSE: AVB), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a five year holding period.

Start date: 08/18/2017


End date: 08/17/2022
Start price/share: $188.99
End price/share: $220.22
Starting shares: 52.91
Ending shares: 62.39
Dividends reinvested/share: $30.70
Total return: 37.39%
Average annual return: 6.56%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $13,739.50

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.56%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $13,739.50 today (as of 08/17/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 37.39% (something to think about: how might AVB shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that AvalonBay Communities, Inc. paid investors a total of $30.70/share in dividends over the 5 holding period, marking a second component of the total return beyond share price change alone. Much like watering a tree, reinvesting dividends can help an investment to grow over time — for the above calculations we assume dividend reinvestment (and for this exercise the closing price on ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 6.36/share, we calculate that AVB has a current yield of approximately 2.89%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 6.36 against the original $188.99/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.53%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Don’t wait for the perfect time, you will wait forever. Always take advantage of the time you’re given and make it perfect.” — Daymond John