Stephen Sakwa shepherds his eight-member Evercore ISI team to first place. International Strategy & Investment Group, which Evercore Partners acquired last October, likewise earned the top spot in 2010 through 2014. These researchers “not only do an excellent job of following individual companies but provide an excellent perspective of the entire class,” one money manager avers. Fundamentals are generally in good shape across most U.S. real estate investment trust asset classes, reports Sakwa, 48. The exception is the apartment REITs group, for which supply is exceeding its long-term trend. Even so, he notes, “demand has been so strong across the country that the new supply seems to be justified.” The squad predicts that pricing power will remain stable or improve next year, given forecasts for U.S. gross domestic product growth and job gains, as well as new supply projections. In addition, the analysts maintain that higher rates are “partly discounted into the REIT stocks today,” the team leader notes, “but a sharp upward move in the ten-year would spook investors.” The domestic sector did gain 3.6 percent during the 12 months through mid-September, compared with the S&P 500’s loss of 2.6 percent. Given their upbeat outlook, Sakwa and his colleagues are touting names in a variety of the industry’s segments, including: Arlington, Virginia’s AvalonBay Communities, whose focus is on multifamily properties; New York–based shopping center owners Brixmor Property Group and Urban Edge Properties; Host Hotels & Resorts of Bethesda, Maryland; Prologis, an industrial and retail developer headquartered in San Francisco; and Chicago-based health care facilities specialist Ventas.