reported at amortized cost. We may sell any of our securities as part of our overall management of our investment portfolio. Accordingly, we typically designate our agency and non-agency securities (collectively referred to as "mortgage securities" or "investment securities") as available-for-sale. All securities classified as available-for-sale are reported at fair value, with unrealized gains and losses reported in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) ("OCI"), a separate component of stockholders' equity. Upon the sale of a security, we determine the cost of the security and the amount of unrealized gains or losses to reclassify out of accumulated OCI into earnings based on the specific identification method.
Non-agency securities in which we may invest consist of investment grade, AAA rated MBS backed by residential or commercial mortgages, for which the payment of principal and interest is not guaranteed by a GSE or government agency. Instead, a private institution such as a commercial bank will package residential or commercial mortgage loans and securitize them through the issuance of MBS. Investment grade, AAA rated non-agency MBS benefit from credit enhancements derived from structural elements, such as subordination, overcollateralization or insurance, but nonetheless carry a higher level of credit exposure than agency MBS.
Interest-only securities and inverse interest-only securities (collectively referred to as "interest-only securities") represent our right to receive a specified proportion of the contractual interest flows of specific agency CMO securities. Principal-only securities represent our right to receive the contractual principal flows of specific agency CMO securities. Interest and principal-only securities are measured at fair value through earnings in gain (loss) on derivative instruments and other securities, net in our consolidated statements of comprehensive income. Our investments in interest and principal-only securities are included in agency securities, at fair value on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.
REIT equity securities represent investments in the common stock of other publicly traded mortgage REITs that invest predominantly in agency MBS. We designate our investments in REIT equity securities as trading securities and report them at fair value on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.
We estimate the fair value of our mortgage securities based on a market approach using "Level 2" inputs from third-party pricing services and non-binding dealer quotes derived from common market pricing methods. Such methods incorporate, but are not limited to, reported trades and executable bid and asked prices for similar securities, benchmark interest rate curves, such as the spread to the U.S. Treasury rate and interest rate swap curves, convexity, duration and the underlying characteristics of the particular security, including coupon, periodic and life caps, rate reset period, issuer, additional credit support and expected life of the security. We estimate the fair value of our REIT equity securities based on a market approach using "Level 1" inputs based on quoted market prices. Refer to Note 8 for further discussion of fair value measurements.
We evaluate our mortgage securities for other-than-temporary impairment ("OTTI") on at least a quarterly basis. The determination of whether a security is other-than-temporarily impaired may involve judgments and assumptions based on subjective and objective factors. When a security is impaired, an OTTI is considered to have occurred if any one of the following three conditions exists as of the financial reporting date: (i) we intend to sell the security (that is, a decision has been made to sell the security), (ii) it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before recovery of its amortized cost basis or (iii) we do not expect to recover the security's amortized cost basis, even if we do not intend to sell the security and it is not more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security. A general allowance for unidentified impairments in a portfolio of securities is not permitted.
Interest income is accrued based on the outstanding principal amount of the investment securities and their contractual terms. Premiums or discounts associated with the purchase of investment securities are amortized or accreted into interest income, respectively, over the projected lives of the securities, including contractual payments and estimated prepayments using the effective interest method in accordance with ASC Subtopic 310-20, Receivables—Nonrefundable Fees and Other Costs ("ASC 310-20").
We estimate long-term prepayment speeds of our mortgage securities using a third-party service and market data. The third-party service estimates prepayment speeds using models that incorporate the forward yield curve, current mortgage rates and mortgage rates of the outstanding loans, age and size of the outstanding loans, loan-to-value ratios, interest rate volatility and other factors. We review the prepayment speeds estimated by the third-party service and compare the results to market consensus prepayment speeds, if available. We also consider historical prepayment speeds and current market conditions to validate the reasonableness of the prepayment speeds estimated by the third-party service and, based on our judgment, we may make adjustments to its estimates. Actual and anticipated prepayment experience is reviewed quarterly and effective yields are recalculated when differences arise between (i) our previously estimated future prepayments and (ii) the actual prepayments to date plus our currently estimated future prepayments. If the actual and estimated future prepayment experience differs from our prior estimate of prepayments, we are required to record an adjustment in the current period to the amortization or accretion of premiums and discounts for the cumulative difference in the effective yield through the reporting date.