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Notes For Reading Our Mortgage REIT And Preferred Share Articles

Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.


Seeking Alpha Analyst Since 2013

We post our portfolio for you. You also get real-time alerts on every trade we place. Our reasoning for placing a trade is explained in clear English. You can even see the exact trades with the images we include from our stock accounts. We don’t offer you several different “portfolios”, instead, we show you exactly what we own, when we bought it, and how we are doing in that position. We make it simple for investors to follow our strategy. 

You’ll find several reports on The REIT Forum that don’t get posted to the public side of Seeking Alpha. Many of our public reports are dramatically reduced versions of subscriber articles. If you enjoy our public articles, you’ll love the content we keep for subscribers.


  • This article briefly covers the most common questions to come up on our mortgage REIT and preferred share articles.
  • To save some space in the body of the article, we moved the notes here.
  • This post will be updated as new notes are needed.

Notes on Price-to-Trailing Book Ratios - Using Q2 2021 Book Value

Remember that these are price-to-trailing-book ratios. They are not using estimates of current book value. Book values continue to change every day. Scott Kennedy provides frequent updates on estimated book value, ratings, and price targets through The REIT Forum.

Repeated Note: There are two points we need to highlight here:

  • AG Mortgage Investment Trust - We are using the Q2 2021 book value reported by management and classified as “adjusted book value per share”. Adjusted book value of $14.72 is lower than GAAP book value of $15.19.

  • MFA Financial reports “GAAP book value” and “economic book value”. We’ve chosen to use the GAAP book value to remain consistent. GAAP book value per share of $4.65 is lower than economic book value per share of $5.12.

Unfortunately, we have to repeat those bullet points every time we publish because it regularly comes up if we don’t mention it.

Notes on Common Share Dividend Yield

Dividend yield often comes up in the comments, but picking based on dividend yield is stupid and regularly results in terrible performance. Don’t do it.

This chart is still in the same order as the prior charts. Consequently, you know the highest price-to-book ratios (using trailing GAAP book value) for each segment will be at the top. If you see a mistake, please feel free to say something. Occasionally the data for dividend rates requires a manual update.

Notes on Earning Yields

One of the next things investors may ask about is the yield using core earnings. This chart puts together the core earnings based on the consensus analyst estimate. Beware that the consensus estimate may not always be the best estimate. Further, there are ways to increase “Core Earnings” through accounting decisions or modifying hedges. Consequently, investors should still take these values cautiously. We do not depend on the consensus estimate to make decisions.

Notes on Preferred Share Prices

This chart gives you a pretty quick feel for which shares are trading at a discount to call value. Each of these preferred shares has a call value of $25.00, but that doesn’t mean a share will be called. The company decides if they want to issue a call or not.

Notes on Dividend Yield / Stripped Yield

Stripped yields are vastly more useful than “current” yields for preferred shares. The stripped yield uses the stripped price. That’s different from using the current price because it means we already adjusted for dividend accrual. This makes the process easier for investors.

We can talk about shares using “regular prices”. Those are the prices an investor would actually use when entering an order.

However, we will provide the stripped yield to adjust for the dividend accrual. In the spreadsheets we host for subscribers, we include the actual ex-dividend date, or the projected ex-dividend date if the actual date isn’t yet known. If you’re planning to buy a share, it’s always wise to check if the shares just went ex-dividend so you can adjust your targets accordingly.

Notes on Floating Yield on Price

Since many of these shares switch over to floating rates, we also want to consider what the yield would be if the floating rate was in effect and shares were still at the current price. To demonstrate that, we use the “Floating Yield On Price”. If the share remains at a fixed-rate indefinitely, then the value doesn’t change.

One point we need to emphasize here is that we are dealing with yields. A yield must involve the share price. We aren’t simply showing the new “rate” if the share began floating, we are adjusting the new rate for the stripped price.


ACR-C has a floor that interferes with the eventual floating rate. The floor prevents the floating rate from being less than the initial fixed-rate. Consequently, while ACR-C is one of the FTF shares, it doesn’t exhibit the same decrease as other FTF shares when we switch over to the “Floating Yield on Price”. However, it remains a higher-risk share because of the type of assets the REIT owns.


AIW, IVR-A, and NYMTO were called. They are no longer in the charts or tables. We’ve added NRZ-D, AAIN, NYMTL, PMT-C, and ACR-D to the tables.

Additional Preferred Share Notes

  • When a share can be called on short notice, the annualized yield-to-call reaches absurd levels. Investors shouldn’t put too much weight on it. On the other hand, a negative number can be a significant concern. Consequently, we decided to include it in the chart.

  • We sort our spreadsheet for subscribers by risk ratings within each sector. We decided to use the same technique for this series since it communicates more information to readers. You’ll notice a general correlation where lower risk correlates with a higher price and lower yield, though this link isn’t absolute.

  • Worst Cash to Call example: Imagine a preferred share that could be called in a few months and would pay out a total of $.75 in dividends by that time. If an investment in those shares ends in a call, the smallest amount of cash inflows possible would be $25.00 (call value) plus $.75 (total dividends). If the share price was $25.60, then the “Worst Cash to Call” would be $.15. That comes from the following equation: $25.00 + $.75 - $25.60 = $.15. If the share price increased by $.20 in the next hour, the “Worst Cash to Call” would decline to negative $.05.


Our goal is to maximize total returns. We achieve those most effectively by including “trading” strategies. We regularly trade positions in the mortgage REIT common shares and BDCs because:

  1. Prices are inefficient.

  2. Long-term, share prices generally revolve around book value.

  3. Short-term, price-to-book ratios can deviate materially.

  4. Book value isn’t the only step in analysis, but it is the cornerstone.

We also allocate to preferred shares and equity REITs. We encourage buy-and-hold investors to consider using more preferred shares and equity REITs.


We compare our performance against 4 ETFs that investors might use for exposure to our sectors:

Source: The REIT Forum

The 4 ETFs we use for comparison are:

Ticker Exposure
MORT One of the largest mortgage REIT ETFs
PFF One of the largest preferred share ETFs
VNQ Largest equity REIT ETF
KBWY The high-yield equity REIT ETF. Yes, it has been dreadful.

When investors think it isn’t possible to earn solid returns in preferred shares or mortgage REITs, we politely disagree. The sector has plenty of opportunities, but investors still need to be wary of the risks. We can’t simply reach for yield and hope for the best. When it comes to common shares, we need to be even more vigilant to protect our principal by regularly watching prices and updating estimates for book value and price targets.


Analyst's Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of all stocks listed in cwmf's portfolio either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives.

This blog post may be linked to frequently and any listing of my positions here would become out of date. For recent disclosures see our recent articles. If you have already subscribed to The REIT Forum on Seeking Alpha you'll have access to our Google Sheets, portfolio updates, and trade alerts which make it easy to monitor all of our positions and to see what we are most interested in purchasing over the next month. I have an indirect conflict of interest with ABR and STWD. Neither I, nor any contributor for The REIT Forum, will provide investment advice, reply to questions, or engage in discussions regarding these two mREIT stocks. Colorado Wealth Management Fund and Scott Kennedy are supporting contributors for The REIT Forum. Our ratings and outlooks will often overlap. Any recommendation posted in this article is not indefinite. We closely monitor all of our positions. We issue Buy and Sell alerts on our recommendations, which are exclusive to our members.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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