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Is 40 The New 30 In The Life Of A Mortgage?

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Forty year mortgages can reduce your monthly mortgage payment, but is that enough to offset the extra cost of tacking 10 more years onto the conventional 30-year mortgage?The question is probably too simplistic, says Dan Green, a mortgage planning specialist at Mobium Mortgage in Chicago.

He says loan products like the 40-year mortgage are deemed risky because they are viewed in a vacuum, without considering the needs of the individual borrower or without comparing their benefits with other mortgages.

‘It’s not the loan that is risky, it’s the behavior of the person paying the loan,’ is the advice he offers in his treatise on home loans longer than 30 years.

The draw of a 40-year mortgage is its relatively lower payment — compared to a 30-year loan — due to stretching out the amortization schedule over a longer period of time.That could be attractive to those in high-cost housing areas, those who can’t qualify for a 30-year mortgage payment or for those who want to qualify for a larger home. Longer term loans are also beneficial for people who don’t plan on moving for a long time.

But here’s the rub, not only will you pay more over the life of the loan for a 40-year mortgage, the higher interest rate on a 40-year mortgage bites into some of the expected monthly savings.

According to the rate on a 40 year mortgage could be 0.25 percent to 0.375 percent higher than the rate on a 30.

So let’s do the math on a $250,000 mortgage, at 6 percent for a 30 year mortgage and 6.25 percent for the 40, using’s ‘How much will my fixed rate mortgage payment be?’ calculator.

The interest and principal payment on the 30-year loan would be $1,498.88 with a total of $539,593.37 paid over the life of the loan.For the 40-year mortgage, the payment would be, $1,419.35 with a total of $681,285.85 paid over the life of the loan.

That’s less than $100 savings each month in exchange for more than $140,000 in extra cost over the life of the loan.

Also consider the fact that the principal is not paid down on a 40 as fast as it is on a 30, toss in a market with flat or falling home values and homeowners with a 40 year mortgage could really feel a pinch instead of relief.Or so the theory goes.

‘These arguments are all based on a single tenet — that paying down a principal balance is a good thing. That’s not always true,’ says Green.

Green says the more a homeowner invests in the home, the smaller the return because the cash-in investment isn’t generating the return. It’s the home’s value that grows — market permitting.

The 40-year mortgage behaves somewhat like a no- or low-down mortgage in terms of using more leverage and leverage is the tool investors use to play the game, for good reason.

You get the same level of market-based equity growth with a 30-year, 40-year or even 15-year mortgage. With a 40-year mortgage it’s just that you get that equity growth at a smaller monthly cost. Greater leverage.

Most people move or refinance within five to seven years and the low monthly payment could work from them in the right market. Given home equity growth historically shows up during a 10 year housing cycle, but not for the entire cycle, timing is important.

The 40-year mortgage can be a good fit if for those at an early stage in their career. It can allow them buy a home they might not otherwise be able to afford. Later during the next equity-growth cycle they can sell and buy anew sell or refinance with the next appropriate financing tool.

A 40-year mortgage can also be advantageous for high-income earners whose mortgage interest payments may be their only large income tax deduction. And it can be used by vacation rental owners to reduce carrying costs.

Other mortgages can perform the same high-leverage trick, provided you can qualify for them, provided they are a risk-fit for your financial status and planning and provided the market cooperates.

The key, says Green, is running all the numbers, both the cost-comparisons of mortgages along with your financial goals, planned tenure in the home and lifestyle.

‘New loan products like the 40-year mortgage are not dangerous to everyone. They are only dangerous to homeowners who operate without a financial plan,’ says Green.

Written by Broderick Perkins for www.RealtyTimescom. Copyright