As shoppers appear to be flocking back in search of attractive bargains, the performance of real estate investment trusts (REITs) that own suburban malls is likely to improve, according to DBS Group Research.

This has led the brokerage to select Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT), CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT) and Lendlease Global Commercial REIT as its top picks.

The brokerage has a “buy” rating for FCT, CMT and Lendlease with target price of $2.95, $2.40 and 85 cents, respectively.

“We continue to place our bets on malls with suburban characteristics,” DBS analyst Derek Tan and the research team write in a note dated Aug 31.

According to DBS’ car park tracker and weekly site visits, malls are seeing steady foot traffic and the return of queues at restaurants.

The brokerage points out that car park vacancies are stabilising at about 27% within Orchard malls and about 35% across suburban malls.

This has led DBS to believe that the “tide has turned” and that these encouraging signs will continue ahead.

“We believe that with borders yet to be reopened, consumers may open their wallets at our local malls, catalysed by attractive marketing and discounts offered by retailers,” say Tan and the research team.

“The worst is over, but the recovery is just underway,” they add.

As at 10.19 am, FCT was up 4 cents or 1.6% at $2.51 with 217,000 units changed hands.

CMT was up 0.5 cent or 2.6% at $1.95 with 4.2 million units changed hands.

Lendlease was up 0.5 cent or 0.8% at 64.5 cents with 199,400 units changed hands.