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Buyers Week: Interest Rates and Mortgage Points

by UrbanTurf Staff

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The start of spring is just a few days away, which means that the housing market will soon be in full swing. To get prospective homer buyers ready, UrbanTurf is running a series of articles over the next two days to help educate readers on the process.

From the offer to the down payment to the mortgage, we’ll touch on every facet of the home buying process and more. And if there is another topic that you want covered, just shoot us an email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


While long-term interest rates have risen from record lows, they still remain quite low. However, as UrbanTurf has written in previous posts, the rates announced by Freddie Mac each week are not quite as good as advertised, as they usually carry points with them.

Points are essentially a form of pre-paid interest on a loan. When Freddie Mac issues its mortgage rates each week, the published average usually includes an average “point” that the lender will charge. That point translates into a percentage of the total loan that the borrower must pay up front in order to get the latest interest rate. For example, if a borrower is looking to get a $300,000 home loan and mortgage rates are at 4.2 percent, with 0.8 of a point as the average, that means that they will have to pay 0.8 percent of the total loan amount ($2,400) up front to get the quoted rate. (Of course, a variety of other factors — credit score, down payment amount — also play into getting the lowest rate available.)

Conventional wisdom suggests it takes somewhere in the 5- to 7-year range to recoup the point that you would pay upfront on a loan, which is good for buyers to keep in mind as they consider how long they will live in the property they are purchasing. For example, say that you want to take out a $400,000 home loan and you have the option of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.9 percent with no points or 3.6 percent with 0.8 of a point. Monthly payments on the first option would be $1,922. After an upfront payment of $3,200, payments on the second loan would be $1,854. The time it would take to make up the difference between the two loans is 47 months, or about 4 years.

In today’s mortgage market, however, it is not out of the question to find a great rate on a conventional loan that does not carry any points. A borrower just usually needs to have a very good credit history and be able to put 20 percent down.

For more on mortgage points, particularly as they relate to taxes, click here.

 

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/first-timer_primer_interest_rates_and_mortgage_points/6745

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