Calculate APR on Home, Personal & Auto Loans

house This calculator figures the effective annual percentage rate (APR) interest rate of a mortgage when upfront loan costs are included.

For car loans, credit cards & other personal loan types outside of home loans, enter zero on the closing costs and points to complete your APR calculation.

Actual APR (also known as annual equivalent rate, effective interest rate, or effective annual rate) may vary from quoted APR:

  • Other borrowing costs — like closing costs;
  • Frequency with which compound interest is computed (typically daily);
Mortgage loan amount:
Quoted interest rate (%):
Mortgage loan term (# years):
Points (%):
Other closing costs to include:
Principal and interest payment:
Total of points and other closing costs:
Effective loan amount:
Monthly payment on effective loan amount:
But loan amount is really only:
Therefore, the APR is really this amount:

Understanding Mortgage Rates

Understanding the concept of mortgage rates can be complicated, which is why it is important to clear your basics properly. There are many concepts, the knowledge of which will be important when you try to understand mortgage rates. The following are a few points that could be helpful

What is APR?

In strictest terms, APR is Annual Percentage Rate or the rate charged for borrowing a loan. This rate is an annual rate and represents the actual cost of the loan over its entire borrowed period. Thus, transaction fees and other additional charges associated with the loan would become a part of APR. Also, it is usually represented as a percentage.

  • Credit cards companies have various loans with different costs, which are affected by their transaction fees, rate structure, penalties and other such charges. APR becomes the standard that enables borrowers to have a bottom line to know how much various lenders are charging them for the loan. This makes APR a comparison tool as well.
  • According to the law, the APR must be shown to the customers by the credit card company they are borrowing from, because they need to understand the cost of their borrowing. Thus, if the company charges 2% a month, the APR would be 12 x 2% = 24% annually. This figure would not be the same as the annual percentage yield, which makes use of a compound interest.

Is There a Significant Difference Between the Quoted APR & Effective APR?

There are two rates into which real interest rate is categorized - the quoted APR and the effective APR. Banks work in mysterious ways and when they quote an interest rate that you would be paying for borrowing the funds, it might not be the actual rate that would be effective. There is a lot of thinking involved and you need to understand that products that are sold by the banks are complex.

Not only banks, but other companies and firms are pretty fond of complex products themselves and many risks and costs get lost in the small print. This is mostly because the customers are not aware of all the intricate details about the product and they don’t quite understand exactly what they are buying. Thus, the banks are able to successfully hide the true interest rate of the product.

Quoted APR – This can also be called simple interest or nominal interest rate per annum. Basically, this APR is quoted without taking into account the effects of compounding intra year. Thus, when financial institutions are lending money, they quote this APR and earn the interest from their customers. Why do they use this APR? Because the customer would feel that they are paying a lot less than what they actually are. This helps them sell their products. Normally, quoted APR is applicable to mortgages, credit cards and loans of various kinds.

Effective APR – Effective APR takes into account the compounding effect and is basically, the real rate you would be paying for your loan. The differences might seem subtle but they can be huge when you think about their implications for borrowers and lending companies. Also, when you open a savings account or a bank account, you want to be paid the highest possible interest. At times like this, the banks might quote the effective rate to give you the illusion that you would be paid higher. At this occasion, there would be no mentioned of the quoted APR.

Example – If a product’s APR is 5% at one company and 5.1% at another, you would obviously choose the option with 5% because whilst borrowing, you always want to choose the option that costs the least. However, this 5% rate has not taken into account the factor of compounding. If it is compounded semi-annually, you will be paying 5.06%, quarterly compounding would give you 5.09% and monthly compounding would give you 5.11%. These rates post compounding are your actual or effective rates. Now, think about this deviation of 0.11% when the term of you loan is 30 years long. It would seem quite big.

Thus, it is very important to understand the difference between these two rates because even after a lot of reforms from the government, institutions and lending companies continue to fool customers like this. The best form of defense against such practices is arming yourself with knowledge and knowing if you are being cheated on the basis of a technicality. This would help you make the right decision while you are trying to choose a loan based on the rates. It would also be helpful when you decide to open an account to store your savings.

Comparison of APR against Common Loan Types – Credit Cards and Mortgages

As you know, APR is mainly a tool of comparison between different loans provided by different companies so that the borrower can make an informed decision about the cost they would be paying. If all the other things are considered to be equal, you can simply go for the lowest APR and be done with it. However, all other things are not equal and this is best explained in the case of Credit Cards and Mortgages.

Credit Cards – You know that APR does not include compounding effects which means that you end up paying more than what is being quoted to you by the lending company. For credit cards, if you start making very small payments to clear off your accounts, you would be paying interest on the borrowed amount plus the interest that has been charged previously to your account. Effectively, your borrowing cost would be really high.

Another important thing to mention for credit cards is that for credit cards, APR is minus other costs. To find out about those costs, you have to conduct separate research and compare those other fees with each other by adding them to the compounded APR. Also, for different transaction types, there might be different APRs and you should enquire about this.

Mortgage Loans – With Mortgage loans, there are many things to consider because unlike credit card loans, these loans are long term in nature. So, while making the comparison of APR in case of mortgage loans, try keeping the bigger picture in mind. Make sure you know about the charges that are included and excluded from the APR calculation. When you calculate the rate, one time charges would seem small because they would be spread out over the lifetime of the loan. But this may not be the actual situation. Thus, rates may appear less than what they actually are.

What are Adjustable Rate Mortgage Indexes (or ARM Indexes) and how do they Work?

These days, 20% of applicants who apply for a mortgage get ARM. The concept of ARM is all about the indexing part. When you get an adjustable rate mortgage, there are two factors you need to understand – the index and the margin. Neutral third parties publish the index and it is set by the forces acting in the market. After that, the margin is added to the index which finalizes the final rate you will be getting. Margin is basically a fixed number of percentage points.

There are certain common indexes, namely LIBOR, MAT, COFI and CMT and they all respond in different ways to the ups and downs of the country’s economy.

For classification purposes, indexes have two categories – average based indexes and spot rate based indexes. The first type – average based – responds slowly to the rising and falling of the markets. Spot rate based indexes respond in a volatile manner and can be abrupt in their movement since spot rates in themselves are volatile.

However, average based ARMs would have a higher margin than spot rate based margins because you would be paying a higher rate and that could be a drawback. However, you would be safe from volatile movements as well and that is one huge advantage of average based indexes. For minute analysis, a graph should be consulted for different indexes and their movement.

The following are some popular indexes, their workings and who should get them –

  • COFI Index – This is an average based index and so, the movement of this index is slow in response to market conditions. For loans that are COFI based, the rate of payment would be adjusted monthly and the monthly payment would be adjusted annually. Negative amortization could happen with this index, which means that you will owe a bit more than what you borrowed in case all the payments you have made are not covering the interest portion. These loans are indexed off to 11th district bank system’s cost of funds. If the rates are rising, borrowers could benefit with this index but for falling rates, they could be disadvantageous.
  • MAT Index – The 12 MAT or 12 MTA is indexed off to the 1 year Treasury bill’s average of 12 months. The average yield of the previous month is published every month by the US Treasury and the 12 MAT-index has 12 published average yields to take as an average. Similar to COFI, the rate of payment gets adjusted each month. For short term rates, market fluctuations and their reaction to this index is slow since for every single increase, the index increases by one twelfth on the following month.
  • LIBOR Index – The rate at which the banks of London borrow reserves off each other is tracked by LIBOR. The fluctuation is more volatile with this index than both COFI and 12 MAT. It could be considered to be an equivalent of US’ federal funds but instead of the government, the market forces determine it. Common LIBOR maturities are 1 month, 6 months and 12 months. 1 month LIBOR would have monthly adjustments, 6 months LIBOR would have half yearly adjustments and the same trend is followed for 12 month LIBOR with annual adjustments. Instead of just responding to the domestic US market, this index is sensitive to a wider market. Both the lender and the borrower share the increased risk.
  • CMT Index - The CMT is indexed off to the 1 year Treasury bill’s average of weeks or months. Obviously, the rate fluctuations are pretty quick with this index. Most CMT loans have yearly adjustments. They are pretty popular as well, especially with home loan hybrid mortgages which follow a fixed rate for the first couple of years and then become CMT mortgages for the rest of the time period.

It is important that you check if switching indexes would be possible during repayment of your ARM and refinancing is not the only option you have left in case the index turns against you.

What are the Factors that Impact Mortgage Rates?

Some of these factors are controllable by you while some others are not. You can surely control your own credit history and down payment. Better credit history means less risk and lower mortgage rates. Higher down payment means that in case of default, the lender would be able to recover the maximum amount from you.

  • Inflation – When prices rise, purchasing power falls. If you obtained a loan of $100 and you pay back $100, the value of this $100 would be different because of the time difference and inflation’s effect on the purchasing/spending power of money. The lender would not have the same value of it. Thus, the interest rates would increase to make up for the lost value and this is how inflation affects mortgage rates.
  • Economic Conditions – During the economy’s depression period, losing jobs is common and that increases the risk of a default occurring in repayment of the mortgage. Thus, during such a phase, mortgage rates tend to rise since the risk has increased and the lenders need to make up for it. When the economy is facing a boom period, the risk reduces and the rates come down accordingly.
  • Federal Reserve Rates – Only the overnight rates from bank to bank are suggested by the Federal Reserve and they have to part to play in setting the rate of interest. The overnight rate is the rate at which various banks can borrow funds from each other. When this overnight rate falls, mortgage rates might experience a rise because it means that the economy is not doing so well.
  • Investment Opportunities – Financial institutions and banks lend mortgage money and by doing so, their money gets tied up in that investment. However, when they notice that other investments like bonds or stocks are giving much higher returns than mortgages, they realize that those are better investment opportunities than the mortgage market. Thus, the funds available for mortgages fall and become limited. Since limited funds invoke more competition from mortgage borrowers, the mortgage rates shoot up.

Risk of Rate Resets Embedded in ARM Loans

Market Turbulence.ARMs are perfect for borrowers who need a loan for a short time and mostly, borrowers who are set to sell their property in a short while or get renovations of a major nature done in the time period of 3 to 5 years do not need the security of stable interest rates beyond that time.

However, there have been instances when borrowers simply wanted to reduce their loan payments and are, in fact, going to need their house and property for a long period of time. In the last few years, this has caused problems for many borrowers since the interest rates are scheduled to be reset to a higher one and they found out that they would not qualify for refinance because the value of their home is less.

If your property is scheduled to have a reset in the next 12 months or so, the following are a few things you should know –

  • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HAMP) – Recent figures have revealed that there are over 1 million Americans whose ARM loans would be reset in the next year. For them, HARP allows a refinance option with traditional and historical low fixed interest rates if they had original backing from government mortgage firms Freddie Mac or Fannie Mac. For FHA insured mortgages, there are other programs which will still continue their benefits for such borrowers. For borrowers whose loans were not backed by the above mentioned government sponsored firms, other programs would still be made available by the government over the next year or even some time after that.
  • Get a Professional – In order to achieve the best results for yourself, your situation needs to be properly documented after thorough investigation. Some programs mentioned above would require extra time to understand and navigate through. At least 6 months before the date your loan is scheduled for a reset, you should contact a mortgage professional so that they will there will be enough time to investigate, document, apply and finalize everything.
  • Make Your Mortgage Payments in a Timely Manner – If your mortgage payment is strong, all the options would be easily available to you and things would be hassle free. Thus, you should continue to pay all your mortgages on time and properly so that you can make yourself eligible for maximum options and programs.
  • Total Financial Review – You can use this opportunity for a full review of your financial life, including budgeting, savings, investments, insurance and protection, and cash flow. There are many financial professionals who can help you with that.

How Do Mortgage Rates Differ for Different Mortgage Products?

The following are the different mortgage products available and how the interest rates get affected by them –

  • Fixed Rate Mortgages – As the name suggests, these mortgages have a rate that is set for a fixed period of time, usually 10 years, 15 years, 20 years or 30 years. Usually, the rate is lower for shorter time periods and vice versa. The best thing about these loans is that you will know exactly how much you have to pay and budgeting can be simple in the early loan years. However, if the market interest rates end up falling below the fixed rate you are getting, you would not find benefits with this product. Once the period for fixed rate application gets over, variable rate would come into effect.
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages – These mortgages have already been discussed but it should be mentioned that they work on a variable rate. Thus, any rise and fall would affect you and for a drop in rates, you would have benefits. The problem with this is that if the initial rate increases, your monthly payments would be increased as well as your interest payment. ARMs generally have a term of 30 years and the fixed period runs for 3 years, 5 years, 7 years or 10 years.
  • Capped Rate Mortgages – This is an interesting product and gives you some amount of hedging against extreme market interest rate fluctuations. This means that even though, your interest rate payments would change with your lender’s variable rate, it would not increase beyond a capped rate which would be set at the beginning and would be in effect for a specific time period. Thus, you can have an estimation of the maximum amount you will have to pay in the capped rate period. It is beneficial to you because if the lender’s SVR (standard variable rate) is low, you pay the low rate but if it increases above the capped rate, you pay the capped rate.
  • Discounted Rate Mortgages – For a set time period, you will be given a discount on the lender’s SVR but your payments would continue to be variable. Even though you will not have the certainty that is associated with fixed rate mortgages, you will still have some savings in the discounted rate period. For people on a strict and tight budget, this could not be an attractive product but for people with some spare money and especially when the market has low interest rates, it could be pretty lucrative.
  • Tracker Rate Mortgages – These mortgages allow you to not be affected by your lender’s SVR and use their base rate. Basically, the tracker is set above or below this rate and they would be tracked until the tracker rate period. After that, you would be reverted back to SVR. In case base rates increase, not only would you interest payment increase but so would your monthly installments.
  • Offset Mortgages – In this, you can offset your mortgage using your savings account and current account. The balance that is left would be payable by you on your offset mortgage and even the interest would be chargeable on the difference only. Thus, with this mortgage, you could easily lower your total payable interest if you have money in your bank accounts. However, the credit balance would not be liable to any interest earnings. In case of people who get bonuses regularly, this could work. In offsetting, you have two options –
    • Don’t change the initial repayment term but enjoy lower monthly payments; or
    • Don’t change the initial monthly payment but enjoy quickly paying off your loan.
    • In both these options, you would be saving some money. Of course, prepayment charges would apply, depending on different products.

Finding Your Current Credit Score and Managing Your Credit Profile

The job of your credit score is to be instrumental in deciding your credit rate when your loan gets approved. Thus, before you apply for a mortgage, it is important that you have full knowledge about your credit score, the factors that affect it, its components and its accuracy. This would help you manage your credit profile.

How Is the Credit Score Calculated?

Every lender asks the borrower to submit their credit report so that they can decide on the likelihood of whether the borrower will be able to pay back the loan or not. Also, the rate of borrowing is decided based on their credit report. Credit score or FICO score is calculated by taking into account the following factors –

  • Payment History of the Borrower – Here, the past loans taken by the borrower are analyzed to see if they properly made payments for their past loans on a timely basis. Were there any instances when a payment was missed or did they experience failure to pay back an entire debt? Any past declaration of bankruptcy is also analyzed along with the fact as to if the borrower had ever gone into collection.
  • Current Debt of the Borrower – The current amount of debt on the borrower’s credit card becomes an important factor. It is checked whether they have any current credit cards which have maxed out. Also, any current student loans, car loans and other such loans are checked for their outstanding value and the amount of debt owed is inspected as well.
  • Total Time Period of Credit History – A short credit history is usually not a reliable one which is why the entire credit history of the borrower, as far as possible, is analyzed. This step analyzes whether the borrower has handled their debts properly and how many years since they have been managing their credit. The opening date of each bank account and credit card is inspected and the activity timeline is examined as well.
  • Types of Credit Taken By the Borrower – This step will analyze about the current types of credit that the borrower is using and how often they usually apply for credit.
    Before getting a mortgage, you should get your credit score from any or all of the following credit agencies –

Contents of the Credit Report

  • Identification – The credit report contains all identifying information of the borrower like name, aliases, past address and current address, SSN and marital status. This information should be latest and you should make sure that you update this information in your credit profile.
  • Credit Lines – In this, the revolving credit lines or regular installments are included like auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and cards of department store chains. Information on each account will be included in this segment, including the date that the account was opened, the starting balance, current balance and late payments (frequency with numbers). All credit grantors might not report to the same bureau and thus, for a comprehensive review, reports from all the 3 major credit bureaus should be reviewed.
  • Court Records – Any judgments, bankruptcy records, liens, divorces as well as satisfied judgments and liens become a part of this section.

No information about salary history, religion, ethnicity, personal history, medical records, stocks, bonds, personal assets or checking/savings account becomes a part of your credit report.

Review Your Credit Report

Because of the sheer size of information and requests that all the major credit bureaus receive on a daily basis, mistakes and errors are pretty common. Thus, reviewing your own report becomes pretty important because reporting errors are always a probability. Scrutinize your credit report closely and look for any errors that you might find. Since you know everything about your credit history, it should not be difficult to find erroneous figures or statements in your own report. It is important that these errors are corrected before information is submitted to the lenders for getting the loan.

In case the errors are discovered after the report has been sent to lending institution, you can submit a request to the credit bureau asking them to send notifications about the correction to the said lending institutions who have been recipients of your report in the last 6 months. Your prospective lender would be included in this report as well since they received your report too and might reject your loan based on the wrong information.

Reviewing your report properly could unearth many errors – big or small – and could have an effect on your overall credit score, which is why reviewing is so important. You might just get a loan at a lower rate because of the errors you find in your report. According to the law, you are allowed a free review of your credit report every year.

How to Understand Your Credit Score and Improve It

The range of credit score is between 300 to 850 and most of the scores fall around 600 to 700. For improving chances of getting a loan, a high credit score is important. If the credit score is low, the interest rates would be higher because the lender wants to make up for your increased risk factor by charging you more interest. Sadly, there are no quick fixes to improve credit scores and profile but following these points can slowly improve credit history over the years –

  • Look for Incorrect Information or Errors – If there are any late payments that are listed wrongly or incorrectly, then contact both the reporting agency and the credit bureau and dispute them.
  • Pay Bills in a Timely Manner – Always ensure that your bills are paid on time. You can set up an ECS with your bank for respective payment or you can use reminders on your email or phone to remind you about bill payments and due dates.
  • Try to Reduce Total Owed Debt – A good plan is to target to higher interest debts first and pay them off. On all the other accounts, make minimum payment till the high interest ones are cleared. If you find it difficult to manage, make use of the services of a credit counseling company.
  • Pay at Least the Minimum Amount on Your Credit Card – Make sure you are at least paying the minimum amount due for your monthly credit card payment and if you can afford it, you can even pay more.
  • Don’t Max Out Your Limits – A good measure is to keep a balance worth 25% of maximum credit limit on your cards.
  • Pay Back Debts but No Debts Means Low Score – Low score would also be a result of no past loans or credit card use.
  • Keep Credit Card Accounts Open and Do Not Open Any New Accounts – Closed cards show up on the credit report so, instead of closing them, keep them open to improve your credit score. Similarly, starting new credit card accounts would lower your score as well.

Finally, it is extremely important to be honest with the lender. Almost everyone goes through a tough financial phase in their life because of education, relocation, family problems, personal problems, illness or divorce. But most lenders understand that it’s normal and thus, a few short payments or occasional erratic behavior in credit payment does not mar your report. If you have picked up after the bad financial phase, it would weigh in your favor. Thus, don’t try to use nefarious means to clean up your credit report and instead, be honest with the lenders and it would be easier for you to get a loan without getting into trouble.

Refinancing Your Mortgage

Are you planning to refinance your mortgage for the first time or are you a serial refinancer? Refinancing should be for taking advantage of the lower rates of interest but you lose this benefit when you refinance mortgage multiple time. The other plan with lower interest rates may seem attractive but are you sure it is the right one for you?

If you are planning to refinance mortgage, you shouldn't do it just so that you can brag about it. You need to do it for the right reasons and wait for the right time. Think it through and then refinance.

To summarize, you have to decide whether your current is loan is a better option than refinance or not.

Set Goals

The first thing that you must do is to decide what you want and set goals accordingly. Refinancing is not going to pay off your debt completely. It is only going to lower it a little so that you save money on the interest and, maybe, restructure so that you can pay off your debt sooner. This means, lower interest on the loan with different loan term.

Two goals you can hope to achieve by refinancing mortgage are –

  • Reduced Interest Rate – This is the most common reason for refinancing mortgage. When the interest rates are lower, then you can save money on the interest to be paid on the loan and, therefore, repay it sooner.
  • Debt Consolidation – The second reason is debt consolidation. This is for people who have a first mortgage followed by a home equity loan. Refinancing the mortgage will help you consolidate the loan and you can repay it together.

Typically, most homeowners refinance mortgage to get out of the Adjustable rate of mortgage terms and get into the security of fixed interest rated over a fixed loan term.

When Should You Refinance?

Now that your reasons for refinancing mortgage are clear, and you have set goals, you must consider if the time is right for refinancing. To determine the right time, look at the cost related savings and ask yourself, how long you are going to stay in the house? If you plan to remain in the house for some time, then refinancing makes good sense but if you plan to sell and move out again then it is not worth the time and effort.

Also, before refinancing, review your current mortgage and loan terms, and credit score. Although this is a good rule to follow, you can’t really calculate your savings this way. The savings actually come from the low interest payments. But, if the interest rate is low and the loan term is longer, then you will end up paying more interest than before. Consider all these factors before you refinance your existing mortgage.

Short terms savings are very important but when you are considering refinancing, they are not the only consideration. You need to consider what kind of loan your current mortgage is. Is it adjustable rate of mortgage, piggyback or interest only mortgage? These kinds of mortgages should propel you to consider opting for refinancing mortgage. They are expensive and refinancing can help you save money.

But, again, if you do not plan to be in the house for a long time, then even with ARM, refinancing is not beneficial.

When You Should NOT Refinance

All this time, we have been discussing the right reasons for refinancing mortgage and setting goals for the same. But, now, let us discuss, when you should not refinance.

When you calculate the savings, mortgage and loan terms and the length of time in which you are going to be in the house, you may find that refinancing is not an option for you. It is more expensive. If you find that with refinancing you may end up paying more than the worth of the house, just continue with your current loan and with the repayments.

Types of Refinancing

If you have decided that refinancing is an option for you and you will be saving money with it then you must learn about the types of refinancing options available. There are 2 main kinds of refinancing options –

Cash Out Refinancing

This kind of refinancing requires you to take a new mortgage on your old property where the new loan amount is more than the old mortgage. The different amount is taken in cash. This kind of loan has a higher rate of interest.

You may be wondering why, when the goal is of saving money via refinancing, people opt for cash out refinancing. This kind of refinancing occurs when you have another debt to pay and the cash difference is used to pay it off.

For example, if you have a credit card debt, then you can repay it with the cash from cash out refinancing. This will ensure that you are free from the credit card debt, which was at a high rate. The money that you free up can go towards repayment of the mortgage.

There is, however, a con to this scenario. You end up paying much more interest than you would have normally paid. If you think it through, you will see that the debt from the credit card is transferred to the mortgage. Also, the biggest problem is that you cannot afford to miss a single mortgage payment. Miss it and you start getting calls from the debt collectors. This affects your credit score.

Plain Vanilla Refinancing

This type of refinancing replaces your current mortgage loan with a newer loan that has a lower rate of interest. There is no cash out here and you are not paying any extra money. The benefit is that the rate of interest is low and the new mortgage loan does not exceed the current loan.

Thus, you see that refinancing can help you save money and, if you have any other debts, repay those debts too. But, you are the only one who can decide if refinancing is the right option for you.

How Do Mortgage Rates Affect Home Prices?

Any investment is affected by interest rates, specifically Treasury bill rates and interbank exchange rates. These rates, in turn, affect mortgage rates. Even though the effect of rate fluctuation has a huge impact on people’s purchasing power, it is not real estate’s only deciding factor. As far as interest related factors go, mortgage rates might be the only factor influencing the house prices because capital flows, demand-supply and investor’s ROI as affected by it.

For investors, the most common technique for property valuation is the income approach. Yes, it is a given that the value of real estate is severely influenced by supply and demand factors and also, replacement cost of new property development but still, income approach is used.

It starts with forecasting or predicting the property trends such as anticipating lease payments. Then, all the costs of the property like financing cost are factored into the equation to find out the net operating income after expenses. Also, capital expenses are then deducted to come to net cash flow and after discounting/capitalization, the value of the property can be found out.

Effect On Capital Flows – Interest rates affect mortgage rates and then, mortgage rates influence value of the property by affecting the costs related to the property. But investment values are even more affected by the demand and supply factors related to the competing property. When the inter-bank exchange rates fall down, funds become cheaper and are allowed to flow into the system. Similarly, when these rates rise up, funds become costlier and the capital available is withdrawn.

If availability of capital is restricted, lending falls down and accordingly, so do property values. Also, these capital flow changes have a direct impact on market’s demand supply dynamics, thereby affecting property prices.

Discount Rates – Capitalization rates are what an investor needs as his rate of return from the investment. They are the investor’s required rate of dividend. Discount rates are the total return requirements of the investor. Both these rates are impacted by interest rates, which in turn impact mortgage rates as well. Because there is a risk free element involved, when risk increases in certain investments, the additional risk has to be compensated by providing a higher return. Thus, the risk free rates become adjusted for the added risk or risk premium.

Risk premiums can vary depending on market risk factors and demand supply but discount rates change based on interest rates. When competing or substitute investments experience an increase in desired rate of return, the value of your property will fall and conversely, when the desired rate falls, the real estate prices would rise.

So, while mortgage rates do have an impact on real estate prices, their impact is supported by the above-mentioned factors as well. They work together to swing the real estate industry.

All the above points would clear all your doubts about mortgage rates and how they work in the market. These allow you to choose the best mortgage loan for yourself.

Further Reading

1. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/apr.asp
2.http://www.howtofinancemoney.com/2011/08/lesson-1-annual-percentage-rate-vs-annual-effective-rate-can-you-differentiate-2.html
3. http://banking.about.com/od/loans/a/calculateapr.htm (only CC and mortage loans bit)
4. http://banking.about.com/od/mortgages/ss/compare_apr.htm
5. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/adjustable-rate-mortgage-indexes-explained-1.aspx
6. http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/mortgage_rate.asp
7. http://ask.barclays.co.uk/help/mortgages_homes/which_mortgage
8. http://www.mortgagemaster.com/csegalla/2013/08/22/the-resetting-adjustable-rate-mortgage-challenge-and-opportunity/
9. https://www.chase.com/mortgage/home-loans/credit-history
10. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/when-to-refinance-your-mortgage-1.aspx
11. http://www.ehow.com/about_5375043_do-rates-go-up-down.html

Key Tips & Advice

Things to consider when buying a home:

  • While the 30-year mortgage is the most popular term in the United States, a 15-year term builds equity much quicker;
  • Home buyers in the US move on average of once every 5 to 7 years;
  • Early mortgage payments apply primarily to interest rather than the principal;
  • Using a shorter loan term, paying extra & making bi-weekly payments can better help offset any transaction-based expenses.

Do Home Prices Always Go Up?

In the United States real estate prices have went up about 6-fold since 1970.