Those are very good questions. I am no expert but with respect to most of the portfolio NYMT has "normal" hybrid mreit leverage, i.e., 2-4x on nonagency securities and maybe 8x on agency. What throws the leverage into a different category is the re-securitization of the multifamily portfolio, which is large in nominal terms.
Basically, they buy securities with the right to collect a $1.00. They then chop these securities up into little pieces and sell off the rights to $.98. They keep the rights to the last two cents. They thus show on the balance sheet 50-1 leverage on that transaction.
Blend it all out and the yahoo number is probably pretty close.
NYMT money should be money you can afford to lose. You probably won't but it is high risk, high return.
When they sell the 0.98 should it not "leave" their books and become the problem of the buyer?
After all if i buy stock on margin but later sell 98% of it my margin is reduced by the sold amount. Why not for NYMT? They ought to receive something for selling rights to $0.98.
I guess i'm revealing my ignorance with these questions.