Income-REIT New Residential Investment Looks Worth It

The $21 trillion U.S. residential housing market is generating significant investment opportunities. And investors looking to tap into this lucrative market should check out real estate investment trusts that focus on investing in residential mortgage-related assets.

In the mortgage REIT space, there are many investments worth considering: Annaly Capital Management (NLY) , American Capital Agency (AGNC) , Starwood Property Trust (STWD) , Blackstone Mortgage Trust (BXMT)  and Invesco Mortgage Capital (IVR)  included.

However, there's one REIT that stands above the others because of its proven expertise in delivering striking financial results, its growing dividends, and its capacity to target assets that produce steady long-term cash flows: New Residential Investment (NRZ) .

Offering investors an incredible 11%-plus yield with growing dividends, this REIT is an attractive moneymaking opportunity.

New Residential Investment aims to "drive strong risk-adjusted returns" mainly through three investment routes.

First, it buys excess mortgage servicing rights. Typically, REITs buy MSRs and get the right to collect monthly mortgage payments. But by buying an excess MSR, New Residential amasses cash flows monthly from the MSR without assuming any servicing duties.

The second type of investment is a servicer advance, which is a reimbursable cash payment made by a servicer upon certain conditions. Generally, servicer advances are repaid from amounts received with respect to the related mortgage loan. Since these instruments are first in line to be repaid, they have high credit quality.

The third investment avenue is non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities, or RMBS, and associated call rights. These instruments are extremely valuable when the U.S. economy and housing market strengthen, as they are doing now.

New Residential is also known to use conservative capital structures in a bid to generate returns across various interest rate environments. This is important because interest rates may change over the years, but a conservative mindset can protect you from the downsides. As they say on Wall Street, whoever loses the least wins the game.

Among residential REITs, New Residential Investment's dividend yield is more than double the industry average of 5.2%. None of the larger REITs in this space pay such generous dividends. 

The yield on New Residential is not a mirage, since the stock has gained nearly 50% in the past 12 months. The yield, supported by three years of rising dividends, is stable, and the company is paying about 90% of its profits as dividends.

Recent earnings have showed how New Residential Investment beat Wall Street expectations in the second, third and fourth quarters. Given that the U.S. housing market is slowly building some strength and that the economy is looking better, New Residential should be a good mortgage-focused REIT to put in your portfolio.

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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.

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