APR vs APY: What The Difference Between Note Rate and APR Tells You

| | Comments (0)


I have in the past told people to ignore APR. APR should not be used to compare between loans. Not only is it a one dimensional number used to measure what is fundamentally a two-dimensional trade-off between rate and costs, but it is computed based upon you keeping the loan for the entire period - no refinancing, no selling the property, not even paying off the loan earlier. Basically, nobody does this. Why pay attention to a number that doesn't tell the entire picture, and wouldn't apply to you even if it did?

But there is something that the difference between the putative APR and note rate can tell you: How big the costs of the loan are. Don't read too much into this. As I may have mentioned a time or two, at loan sign up, these are only the rate and fees that they are admitting to. The APR is subject to every bit of low-balling that the Good Faith Estimate (or Mortgage Loan Disclosure Statement in California) is. Furthermore, be advised that prospective loan providers are permitted a lie, I mean an error, of a full eighth of a percent for fixed rate loans, twice that for ARMs. So be aware that unless you are careful to nail down prospective loan providers by asking all the right questions and requiring a quote guarantee, what you get won't be any more accurate than political spin.

Where this is primarily useful is in reading advertisements. Not that mortgage rate advertisements are a good place to be looking for loans, but people will persist no matter how much I warn them against it.

APR does not include all costs. Federal Reserve Regulation Z allows mortgage providers to exclude third party costs from the calculation. This includes escrow, title, and appraisal costs at a minimum, as well as notary and processing costs, if they are performed by outside providers. I'm going to assume a 6% thirty year fixed rate loan. For such a loan processed "in house" for $400 would have an APR of 6.056, while the same loan where the $600 processing was "contracted out" instead would have an APR of 6.044. Note that you pay $200 more for the loan with the lower APR! You therefore need to know what's included and excluded when comparing APRs. For the same reason, a loan where there's a difference of $1000 in fees due to one loan's title company, escrow company, or appraiser padding their pockets while those associated with the other loan don't, will not show up under APR calculations. If other factors are the same, the expensive loan will have precisely the same APR as the cheap one.

With all that said, let's look at a thirty year fixed rate loan, starting from a $300,000 balance, with $1500 of closing costs included per regulation Z, first, with all closing costs included, then paying all costs but no points (par), then with one point, then two points. These are rates that were really the best available when I wrote this, but seem very high now.



Loan
Zero Cost
Par
1 point
2 points
Note Rate
6.75
6.375
6.125
5.875
Total Cost
0
$3200
$6263
$9388
APR
6.750
6.420
6.264
6.106
Note Rate-APR
0
0.045
0.139
0.231

Note that a loan with two full points is pretty expensive. It costs almost $9400 in actual costs, never mind impounds or prepaid interest that you may also be adding to your balance and paying interest on. Nonetheless, it boosts APR over note rate by less than 1/4 of a percent, and that the actual APR keeps going down even though the costs are skyrocketing. This means that for people who shop by APR, loan providers will advertise a loan with even more points. Even though you'll never recover the costs of those points, if all you look at is APR, the lower rate looks better.

Now let's hold everything else constant, but pretend that you have a choice between refinancing a $300,000 balance on a 6% thirty year fixed rate loan with all costs paid, where you pay the costs but no points (par), with one point, and with two points. This is never going to actually happen - the cost differentials you will shop between will not be that broad. If there's that much difference between the loans you're being offered, something is wrong. It could any of a number of things - I can't tell exactly what without a lot more information. This much variance should never happen - I'm doing this solely for illustrative purposes, so you can see how costs influence APR. There is always that tradeoff between rate and costs, and they are more likely to discover physics that repeals gravity than economics that repeals this relationship.

With that said, here's the comparison.



Loan
Zero Cost
Par
1 point
2 points
Note Rate
6.00
6.00
6.00
6.00
Total Cost
0
$3200
$6263
$9388
APR
6.000
6.043
6.138
6.233
Note Rate-APR
0
0.043
0.138
0.233

Now keep in mind, that every number here in this article is as correct as I can make it. This is, once again, to illustrate how various factors influence APR, not to illustrate the games that can be played with APR.

What other factors influence APR?

The size of the loan makes a difference. A $100,000 loan with $1500 of included costs (per Reg Z) at a note rate of 6% has an APR of 6.142, while a $400,000 loan with the same costs has an APR of 6.035. Note that this is a pretty low-cost loan, but it makes a real difference to comparatively small loan amounts. The difference ordinary costs make for smaller loans is one reason why folks with smaller loan balances should focus far more on cost than rate. Given that most people don't keep their loans longer than about three years, it can be very difficult to recover increased initial costs of doing the loan via lowered interest costs.

The basic note rate also influences how much the same cost influences APR. A $300,000 loan with $1500 in non-excludable costs (under reg Z) at 9% has an APR of 9.056, a difference of (actually) 556 basis points higher, while the 6% loan with the same costs has an APR of 6.046, an actual difference of only 463 basis points. Lower note rate means that the same costs influence APR less.

The term of the loan makes a huge difference. If that same thirty year fixed rate loan at 6% in the previous paragraph was a 15 year loan, it would have an APR 6.078. Not only can this mean that at shorter loan terms, a lower cost loan with a higher note rate can actually have a higher APR, if further illustrates how counter-productive paying attention to APR is. When the APR is computed as if you allocated those costs over the term of the loan, and most people sell the property or refinance in three years or less, the proper term to compute spreading those costs over is two or three years, not thirty. If cutting that period in half, from 30 years to 15, almost doubles the APR spread, what do you think cutting the period still further does? I'll tell you: If you only keep that same loan three years, the effective APR is 6.333 - and this is a very inexpensive loan. That two point loan from the first example at 5.875 that gets you the low payment has an effective APR of 7.549 if you refinance it after three years! Not only that, but you're going to be paying for it in the form of higher interest costs on a higher balance for as long as you have a home loan, and probably quite a while thereafter. By comparison, let me call your attention to that true zero cost loan at 6.75% from the same example, which has an APR of 6.750, no matter what period it is computed over. If you're going to refinance or sell in three years, which of these loans do you think it makes more sense to choose?

Caveat Emptor

Original article here

Categories

Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!
Please be civil. Avoid profanity - I will delete the vast majority of it, usually by deleting the entire comment. To avoid comment spam, a comments account is required. They are freely available, and you can post comments immediately. Alternatively, you may use your Type Key registration, or sign up for one (They work at most Movable Type sites) All comments made are licensed to the site, but the fact that a comment has been allowed to remain should not be taken as an endorsement from me or the site. There is no point in attempting to foster discussion if only my own viewpoint is to be permitted. If you believe you see something damaging to you or some third party, I will most likely delete it upon request.
Logical failures (straw man, ad hominem, red herring, etcetera) will be pointed out - and I hope you'll point out any such errors I make as well. If there's something you don't understand, ask.
Nonetheless, the idea of comments should be constructive. Aim them at the issue, not the individual. Consider it a challenge to make your criticism constructive. Try to be respectful. Those who make a habit of trollish behavior will be banned.

Leave a comment

Copyright 2005-2021 Dan Melson All Rights Reserved

Search my sites or the web!
 
Web www.searchlightcrusade.net
www.danmelson.com


The Book on Mortgages Everyone Should Have
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages Cover

The Book on Buying Real Estate Everyone Should Have
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate Cover

Buy My Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels!
Dan Melson Amazon Author Page
Dan Melson Author Page Books2Read

The Man From Empire
Man From Empire Cover
Man From Empire Books2Read link

A Guardian From Earth
Guardian From Earth Cover
Guardian From Earth Books2Read link

Empire and Earth
Empire and Earth Cover
Empire and Earth Books2Read link

Working The Trenches
Working The Trenches Cover
Working the Trenches Books2Read link

Rediscovery 4 novel set
Rediscovery set cover
Rediscovery 4 novel set Books2Read link

Preparing The Ground
Preparing the Ground Cover
Preparing the Ground Books2Read link

Building the People
Building the People Cover
Building the People Books2Read link
Setting The Board

Setting The Board Cover

Setting The Board Books2Read link

The Invention of Motherhood
Invention of Motherhood Cover
Invention of Motherhood Books2Read link



The Price of Power
Price of Power Cover
Price of Power Books2Read link

The Fountains of Aescalon
Fountains of Aescalon Cover
The Fountains of Aescalon Books2Read link



The Monad Trap
Monad Trap Cover
The Monad Trap Books2Read link

The Gates To Faerie
Gates To Faerie cover
The Gates To Faerie Books2Read link
**********


C'mon! I need to pay for this website! If you want to buy or sell Real Estate in San Diego County, or get a loan anywhere in California, contact me! I cover San Diego County in person and all of California via internet, phone, fax, and overnight mail. If you want a loan or need a real estate agent
Professional Contact Information

Questions regarding this website:
Contact me!
dm (at) searchlight crusade (dot) net

(Eliminate the spaces and change parentheticals to the symbols, of course)

Essay Requests

Yes, I do topic requests and questions!

If you don't see an answer to your question, please consider asking me via email. I'll bet money you're not the only one who wants to know!

Requests for reprint rights, same email: dm (at) searchlight crusade (dot) net!
-----------------
Learn something that will save you money?
Want to motivate me to write more articles?
Just want to say "Thank You"?

Aggregators

Add this site to Technorati Favorites
Blogroll Me!
Subscribe with Bloglines



Powered by FeedBlitz


Most Recent Posts
Subscribe to Searchlight Crusade
http://www.wikio.com

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on October 2, 2019 7:00 AM.

How to Effectively Shop For A Listing Agent (Part II) was the previous entry in this blog.

Offers Where The Buyer Knows About A Problem With Your Property is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

-----------------
Advertisement
-----------------

My Links