Understanding mortgage rates and their indexes will allow you to make an educated choice when taking on a loan. Apply online to take advantage of low mortgage rates and contact up to four lenders about your new mortgage.
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There are several indexes on which mortgage rates are based:
- The Prime Rate is often given by lenders to corporations, large businesses
and to the most credit-worthy applicants. This index is characterized by its
stability, and it does not usually vary from bank to bank. Also, the Prime
Rate can be used to predict future trends in rates. The direction of rates
associated with consumer loans often follows the lead of this index.
- U.S. Treasury Security Yields is published yearly by the Federal Reserve
Board and is one of the indexes used to decide adjustable mortgage rates.
This index is comprised of an average of monthly rates during the length of
a one year U.S. Treasury security.
- The 11th District Cost of Funds is also often used to determine adjustable
mortgage rate, and it generally rises and falls along with the average of
a one-year U.S. Treasury security. The 11th Federal Home Loan Bank District
publishes a weighted average mortgage rate monthly. The 11th District Cost
of Funds uses the states of California, Nevada and Arizona to calculate this
A fixed mortgage rate is generally considered the most desirable because it remains constant throughout the term of the loan and gives a measure of financial security. Fixed mortgage rates make financial planning more reliable as the home owner knows the exact amount of his or her monthly payment from the first day of the loan to the last. Whether interest rates rise or fall in the future, a borrower with a fixed rate will not be affected.
Adjustable rates carry more risk than fixed rates as they are suspect to change as the loan term moves along. After adjustment periods of three, five or ten years, the mortgage rate will increase or decrease according to a predetermined interest rate index. Some indexes are less stable than other indexes and it is good to research your index in order to take this into consideration. The increased risk that comes along with adjustable rates, is lessened by a rate cap that keeps the mortgage rate from rising beyond a certain point regardless of the activity of indexes. Also, adjustable rate loan usually begin with low introductory rates. If mortgage rates fall substantially, a homeowner with an adjustable rate would be able to feel the beneficial effects of such a drop, while a homeowner with a fixed rate would have to refinance in order to do so.