If you’re thinking about buying a home, the good news is mortgage interest rates continue to decline. Rates are in the low 6% range compared to over 7% a few months ago. There are ways to lower the mortgage interest rate even more with a temporary or permanent mortgage buydown, but there are pros and cons.
A mortgage rate buydown allows a buyer to secure a lower interest rate on a mortgage by paying more money up front in the form of discount points. Each “point” is equal to one percent of the total loan amount. This can be beneficial when mortgage rates are high.
Permanent or Temporary Buydown?
With a permanent interest rate buydown, the interest rate is reduced for the life of the loan, but there are generally heftier up front costs. With a temporary interest rate buydown, a borrower can get a temporary discounted interest rate and ease into the permanent mortgage interest rate.
1-0 buydown mortgage – a 1% discounted interest rate for the first year
2-0 buydown mortgage – a discounted interest rate for the first two years of the loan. The first year the interest rate is 2% lower, decreasing to 1% the second year.
3-2-1 buydown mortgage – a 3% discounted rate the first year, 2% in the second year and 1% the third year.
With a temporary mortgage buydown the borrower must qualify for the mortgage at the higher interest rate even though initially paying a lower rate.
Does it pay to permanently buy down a mortgage? Mortgage payments will be more affordable for the life of the mortgage, but there are higher up front costs. If you plan to stay in the home for a long period of time, this could be a wise financial decision, but if you plan to move in a few years you may not break even given the up front costs.
Talk with your lender or mortgage broker for information about current interest rates, loan programs, mortgage buydowns and calculations to see which scenario is the best for your financial situation and future plans.