Friday, March 12, 2010

Shows true cost of borrowing

That’s essentially how the APR works. It takes any fees you pay for a mortgage loan or refinance, and recalculates their cost as part of an interest rate. It’s a handy way of comparing loan offers with differing fees and interest rates. For example, you may have one loan offer at 5.5 percent, zero points and $2,500 in fees, vs. another at 5.25 percent, two points and $7,000 in fees. Your APR on the first might be 5.6 percent, but 5.75 percent on the second. The first loan is the least expensive, even though it has a higher interest rate.

The APR can be used to compare offers on adjustable rate mortgages, even though the rates may fluctuate over time. The way that works is, the APR is calculated assuming you’ll have the mortgage for the full term of the loan and simply pay the new rate whenever it resets. Because no one can predict what interest rates will do in the future, the calculation simply assumes the base rate, or rate index, that rate resets are based on will remain unchanged, so the calculation simply depends on how much the resets
vary from the base rate.

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