The Key Differences Between Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs

Investing in real estate can be a great way to make money. Equity and mortgage REITs are two popular routes to take. Although they sound alike, there are key differences.

Equity REITs are Real Estate Investment Trusts. They allow people to invest without having to manage the properties. Most focus on income-producing buildings, like shopping centers, apartments, or offices. An investor becomes part-owner of the property and earns money through rental payments.

Mortgage REITs take a different approach. They invest in mortgage-backed securities and make money from interest payments. They are lenders, giving loans to property owners or buying mortgages from banks.

Both equity and mortgage REITs offer cash flow streams, but there are risks. Equity REITs are tied to market conditions and property values. If these decrease, the investment value may drop. Mortgage REITs are affected by interest rates and credit risk if borrowers don’t pay their loans.

Investors should think carefully before committing. Don’t miss out; explore these avenues now!

Definition of Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs

Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs are two distinct categories of real estate investment trusts. They have major differences in how they operate, what they invest in and the risks they involve. Let’s compare them side by side.

Equity REITs Mortgage REITs
Own and run income-producing properties, such as apartments, offices, malls, hotels etc.
Mainly invest in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).
Investment Focus:
Acquire and manage real estate, to get rental income.
Investment Focus:
Put money into mortgage loans or MBS, and gain from the interest.
Income Source:
Rental income from tenants renting their properties.
Income Source:
Mainly from interest on mortgage loans or MBS.
Risk Profile:
Vulnerable to property values and market conditions.
Risk Profile:
Prone to interest rate risks due to changes in borrowing costs.
Moderate leverage for property acquisitions.
High leverage, increases returns and risks.
Subject to rules set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Regulated with different standards, such as those set by the SEC.

Equity REITs make money mainly from tenants renting their properties, whereas mortgage REITs get most of their income from interest payments on mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. Investors should consider their financial objectives, risk acceptance, and market circumstances when choosing between equity REITs and mortgage REITs. Analyze the unique qualities of each, seek advice from a professional if needed, and don’t miss out on the potential benefits of these real estate investment trusts!

Similarities between Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs

Equity and mortgage REITs have similarities in their focus on real estate investment. Both provide investors with a way to benefit from real estate income without taking on direct ownership or management. Even though they have different strategies, they share common features that make them attractive to those wanting exposure to the real estate market.

To illustrate the similarities between equity and mortgage REITs, let’s look at a comparison table:

Equity REITs Mortgage REITs
Invest in properties Invest in mortgages
Generate rental income Earn interest on loans
Diversify portfolio Focus on loan investments
Trade on stock exchanges Trade on stock exchanges

Equity and mortgage REITs both trade on major stock exchanges. Also, both distribute most of their taxable income to shareholders as dividends. This can be an appealing source of potential income.

Equity REITs invest in income-generating properties such as office buildings, retail centers, and apartments, while mortgage REITs invest in mortgages and earn interest income from borrowers.

I met Linda, a great example of how equity and mortgage REITs work together. She allocated part of her portfolio to equity REITs that owned commercial properties and invested some funds in mortgage-backed securities through a mortgage REIT. This combination allowed her to benefit from rental income and interest payments.

The similarities between equity and mortgage REITs are evident. They both offer ways to participate in the real estate market without buying or managing properties. These shared characteristics make them useful for diversifying investment portfolios and generating income.

Key Differences between Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs

Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs are two unique types of real estate investment trusts. They are different regarding what assets they invest in, where they make their money from, and their levels of risk.

To comprehend the fundamental differences between Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs, look at the table below:

Equity REITs Mortgage REITs
Underlying Primarily physical properties like office buildings, shopping malls, and apartment complexes. Mortgage-backed securities backed by residential or commercial real estate.
Income Source Rental income from tenants Interest from mortgages held.
Risk Profile Generally low-risk due to steady rental income Higher due to interest rate fluctuation & credit risk.

It is also worth noting that Equity REITs benefit from capital growth as property values rise over time. On the flip side, Mortgage REITs are sensitive to interest rate changes since they borrow money at lower rates to invest in higher-yielding mortgage-backed securities.

Now, here’s an example of how this played out:

In 2008, during the financial crisis, Mortgage REITs had major problems due to the collapse of the housing market and increased defaults on subprime mortgages. The large drop in property values caused heavy losses for Mortgage REITs investors and showed how vulnerable they were to credit risk.

In conclusion, while both Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs offer ways to invest in real estate, there are differences in terms of what they invest in, their income sources, and risk profiles. It is essential for investors to think about these distinctions before making any investment decisions.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Equity REITs

Equity REITs have both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s dig in and consider the pros and cons of investing in these real estate investment trusts.

To comprehend better, check out this table:

Pros Cons
Potential for high yields Interest rate changes can affect them
Diversify real estate portfolio Market fluctuations can hurt share prices
Trade on exchanges for liquidity Possibility of dilution with secondary offerings
Opportunity for capital appreciation Sensitive to economic conditions

Moreover, investing in Equity REITs gives investors a chance to make money from properties without actually owning them. This indirect ownership provides diversification that a single person cannot do alone.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Mortgage REITs

Investing in Mortgage REITs may be rewarding for investors, but it also comes with its risks. Some factors to keep in mind are:


  1. High Dividend Yields


  1. Interest Rate Risk
  2. Credit Risk
  3. Prepayment Risk

Mortgage REITs offer high dividend yields, luring income-focused investors. However, they are exposed to interest rate risk, meaning that a rise in rates can reduce profitability. Credit risk is also involved, as mortgage loans may default or fall in value. Lastly, prepayment risk exists when borrowers pay off their mortgages early, which can disrupt the cash flow generated by Mortgage REITs.

The 2008 global financial crisis serves as an example of the perils of investing in Mortgage REITs. Many Mortgage REITs endured huge losses due to high defaults and foreclosures. This stresses the importance of evaluating possible drawbacks before investing in this sector.


In the ever-changing world of REITs, it’s key to understand the difference between equity REITs and mortgage REITs. Both provide unique opportunities, so it’s important to be informed before making investments.

Equity REITs acquire and manage income-generating properties. This could include residential, commercial, and industrial. Equity REITs gain rental income, which is then shared with shareholders as dividends. Long-term investors may prefer this option for stable returns.

Mortgage REITs, however, mainly invest in mortgage-backed securities or loans secured by real estate. They don’t own physical properties; rather, they make money from interest income. Returns depend on interest rates and the performance of mortgages. This type of investment is higher-risk, but potentially higher yield.

Interest rate fluctuations could affect equity REITs and mortgage REITs differently. Equity REIT valuations are less sensitive than mortgage investments held by mortgage REITs. Meaning, when interest rates rise, mortgage investments may suffer, whereas equity investments may stay stable.

You should consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and market conditions when deciding what to invest in. A portfolio with both equity and mortgage REITs could provide a balanced exposure to the real estate sector.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an equity REIT?

An equity real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that owns, operates, and manages income-generating properties. Investors in equity REITs hold shares representing ownership in these properties, earning returns through rental income and property appreciation.

2. What is a mortgage REIT?

A mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT) is a type of REIT that primarily invests in mortgage-backed securities and earns income through interest payments from mortgages. Mortgage REITs do not own physical properties but instead provide financing for real estate purchases.

3. How do equity REITs and mortgage REITs differ in terms of income source?

Equity REITs generate income from renting out and managing properties they own, whereas mortgage REITs generate income through interest earned from mortgage financing. The income source for equity REITs is primarily rental income, while for mortgage REITs it is interest payments.

4. What are the key risks associated with equity REITs?

The key risks associated with equity REITs include fluctuations in property value, changes in rental demand and pricing, and economic downturns affecting the real estate market. Additionally, interest rate changes can impact equity REITs by affecting financing costs and property values.

5. What are the key risks associated with mortgage REITs?

The key risks associated with mortgage REITs include interest rate risk, credit risk, and prepayment risk. Changes in interest rates can affect the profitability of mortgage REITs, while credit risk refers to the possibility of borrowers defaulting on their mortgage payments. Prepayment risk arises when borrowers pay off their mortgages earlier than expected.

6. Are equity REITs or mortgage REITs more suitable for income-focused investors?

Equity REITs are generally more suitable for income-focused investors seeking regular dividends from rental income and potential property appreciation. Mortgage REITs, on the other hand, may be more suitable for investors seeking higher yields from interest payments but with a higher level of risk and volatility.