What Is Loan APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

Annual percentage is a measure of the cost of taking out the mortgage loan or any other form of credit that must be reported by the lenders under Truth in Lending regulations.

The APR was designed to be complete and accurate measure of all costs concerned with taking out the mortgage. It was supposed to be significant that a borrower could use to compare bilious loans with each other as well as compare different offers from different loan providers. Under the federal regulations whenever lenders disclose an interest rate they must also disclose the APR alongside with it. For certain reasons even though the APR is supposed to be a full disclosure of the actual costs of using credit it has not served its purpose adequately more of which can be read about in the next post.

The Comprehension Problem with APR

Despite the noble purpose behind creating the APR and implementing it with federal regulations it has quite failed to serve its purpose in many circumstances. It is true that the majority of people do not understand APR and what it implies. Field officers or mortgage brokers understand it either and even people who are seasoned lenders often get it wrong.. Very few people understand that the APR which is expressed as percentage the same as interest rate except that the API does some artwork opposite of percentage rate and dollar costs. The whole process gets more complicated when dealing with an ARM because the ARM rate is subject to unknown changes in the future.

To serve its purpose the APR should include all charges that would not arise in an all cash transaction. In fact charges paid to third parties such as title insurance premiums and appraisal fees are not included. In principle this is an easy problem to fix and in its 2009 proposal to amend truth in lending regulations the Federal Reserve promised to fix it.

Meanwhile incomplete fee coverage means that APR understands the true credit cost. If the understatement was consistent this would not be a major problem but it is not consistent under. Fees that are not included in the APR is sometimes paid by the lender in exchange for a higher interest rate. The APR in such cases indirectly includes fees that are excluded when paid by the borrower. Watergate shoppers should not rely on APR compare loans for the peace settlement costs and with loans where the lender pays them.

An APR Assumes That the Loan Runs to Term

The APR calculation assumes that the loan runs to its full term. When in fact more than 90% of all loans are paid off before to. Because the APR calculation spreads upfront fees or the life of the loan along with his young life to lower the APR. This automatically means that if a borrower was expecting to be out of her house in 10 years time over a 30 year mortgage the APR over 10 years would be higher and even higher over five years period. Mortgage shoppers with short-term time horizons should not use APR to compare loans. They should use time horizon cost of interest cost calculator for their own time horizon.

APR Should Be Ignored When Comparing Cash out Refinance with Second Mortgage

The APR can be inaccurate when trying to choose between a cash out refinance and taking out a second mortgage. This is because the EPR ignores the interest rate which is already being paid off on the existing mortgage. For example if you have a $100,000 mortgage at 7% and the need to raise $10,000 in cash you might be comparing taking out a second mortgage for $10,000 at an APR of 8.5% as compared to an APR of 7.5% if you take out a second mortgage. This kind of an API comparison will make the cash out refinance appeared cheaper and a better option. This is not necessarily the case because the APR for the cash out refinance does not take the loss that will occur to the borrower from increasing the APR on the 100,000 mortgage from 7% to 7.5% into consideration. If the APR was to take this fact into consideration the APR of the cash out refinance would be well above the 8.5% mark as on the second mortgage.

For this reason it is advised to borrowers and loan consultants alike that they should ignore the APR when trying to decide between a cash out refinance and a second mortgage.


You will be well aware of the fact that the interest rate that is initially offered on an ARM is only temporary. The interest rate on the ARM is likely to change and fluctuate once the initial interest duration is over. In order to calculate the APR on an ARM certain guesses and assumptions have to be made regarding what the interest rate is going to be at the end of this generation.

The rule that is usually implemented is that the initial rate is used for as long as it lasts and no change or stimulate scenario is taken into consideration when the interest index used by the ARM stays the same for the life of the loan.

Under a stable rate scenario at the end of the initial dates duration the APR adjusts to equal the fully indexed rate subject to the adjustment cap.

The full indexed rate is the value of the interest rate index at the time the ARM was written plus a margin that the mortgage lender specifies in the mortgage contract.

For example, if the stock trade on a 3/1 ARM is 4%, the current index 2% and the margin 2.25%, the APR calculation use 4% for three years and 4.25% for 27 years. But if the current index is 4% and the rate adjustment Is 2%, the API integration with useful percent for three years, 6% for one year and 6.25% for 26 years.

When the fully indexed rate is about the initial rate the APR increases on a no change scenario.

The APR is about the initial rate even if there are no lender fees. When the fully indexed rate is below the initial rate the rate decreases on unknown change scenario. If not offset by high upfront fees this would produce an APR below the initial rate.

While there is nothing particularly wrong or incorrect about this method of calculating the APR for an ARM, it is difficult for mortgage borrowers to understand this procedure also. Also it does not end to words the risk involved in taking out the ARM and does nothing to warn them about it which is a major concern for the borrowers in the first place.


The APR calculation on a HELOC takes the initial interest rate into account and is equal and to the initial interest rate. It does not take other features into account such as points, upfront costsĀ  and expected future rates. Also the most important price feature the margin is not required disclosure for a HELOC.