What is the difference between the interest rate and the A.P.R.?
When you see an advertisement for a mortgage loan, you will find both an interest rate and an Annual Percentage Rate (A.P.R.) for each mortgage loan advertised. The reason they are have to both be in the ad is that federal law requires the lender to tell you both.
The A.P.R. is a tool for comparing different loans, which will include different interest rates but also different points and other terms.
The interest rate is the amount charged, expressed as a percentage of principal, by a lender to a borrower for the use of assets. Interest rates are typically noted on an annual basis, known as the annual percentage rate (APR). The assets borrowed could include, cash, consumer goods, large assets, such as a vehicle or building. Interest is essentially a rental, or leasing charge to the borrower, for the asset’s use. In the case of a large asset, like a vehicle or building, the interest rate is sometimes known as the “lease rate”. When the borrower is a low-risk party, they will usually be charged a low interest rate; if the borrower is considered high risk, the interest rate that they are charged will be higher.
The A.P.R. is designed to represent the “true cost of a loan” to the borrower, expressed in the form of a yearly rate. This way, lenders can’t “hide” fees and upfront costs behind low advertised rates.
While it’s designed to make it easier to compare loans, it’s sometimes confusing because the A.P.R. includes some, but not all, of the various fees and insurance premiums that accompany a mortgage. And since the federal law that requires lenders to disclose the A.P.R. does not clearly define what goes into the calculation, A.P.R.s can vary from lender to lender and loan to loan.
The A.P.R. on a loan tied to a market index, like a 5/1 ARM, assumes the market index will never change. But ARMs were invented because the market index changes and makes fixed rate loans cheaper or more expensive to make — that’s why they’re variable rate in the first placed!
So, A.P.R.s are at best inexact. The lesson is that A.P.R. can be a guide, but you need a mortgage professional to help you find the truly best loan for you.
Note when you’re browsing for loan terms that the A.P.R. will not tell you about balloon payments or prepayment penalties, or how long your rate is locked. Also, you’ll see that A.P.R.s on 15-year loans will carry a higher relative rate due to the fact that points are amortized over a shorter period of time.
Let our Mortgage Experts at Premiere Properties walk you through the process to make your mortgage experience an easy one.