Mortgage Rates: Annual Percentage Rate Vs. Interest Rate

apr vs interest rate

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and the interest rate are key components of mortgage loan acquisition. These two metrics influence monthly payments and the overall cost of borrowing. Simply put, if you are looking to get a loan for property investment, these two formulas will enable you to borrow money wisely.

While both the interest rate and APR play a pivotal role in defining the cost of the loan, knowing the distinction between them is vital for investors aiming to maximize returns and save money. Moreover, the differences between APR and interest rates extend beyond their definitions. They encompass various variables such as broker fees, mortgage insurance, discount points, and other fees that are integral to the cost of the loan.

In general, a mortgage interest rate reflects the cost of borrowing the principal amount, while the APR provides a comprehensive overview, including any additional costs associated with securing the mortgage loan. By dissecting the intricacies of APR vs interest, investors can discern the true cost of acquiring a property, optimize their financing strategies, and, ultimately, enhance the profitability and sustainability of their real estate portfolios. So, how does an annual percentage rate (APR) for mortgages differ from a more traditional interest rate? Let’s take a closer look at them:

What is an Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a comprehensive measure used to express the total cost of borrowing on a yearly basis, encompassing not only the nominal interest rate but also incorporating any additional fees and costs associated with securing a loan, such as broker fees, mortgage insurance, and closing costs. It provides a holistic view of the cost of a loan, allowing borrowers to accurately compare different lending options and identify the most cost-effective one. By considering APR, investors can gain deeper insights into the true cost associated with borrowing money for real estate investments, enabling more informed and financially sound decision-making.

calculate interest and APR

How to Calculate APR

Suppose you take out a $100,000 mortgage with a nominal interest rate of 5% and a loan term of 30 years. Additionally, you have closing costs, including origination fees, underwriting fees, etc., totaling $3,000.

Calculate the Total Cost of the Mortgage:

  • Interest Cost: Use an online mortgage calculator or formula to find the total interest paid over the life of the loan. For a $100,000 loan at 5% over 30 years, let’s assume the total interest is $93,255.78.
  • Add any additional costs: $93,255.78 (Interest) + $3,000 (Fees) = $96,255.78 (Total Cost).

Calculate the APR:

  • Divide the total cost by the loan amount: $96,255.78 / $100,000 = 0.9625578.
  • Divide the result by the number of years of the loan term: 0.9625578 / 30 years = 0.03208526 or 3.21%.

So, in this example, while the nominal interest rate is 5%, when you consider the additional fees and charges, the APR for the mortgage is approximately 3.21%.

Please note that this is a simplified example for illustrative purposes and does not represent the exact method for calculating APR, which can be more complex, involving specific formulas and taking into account the time value of money. It’s always advisable to use an online APR calculator or consult with a financial advisor or mortgage professional to get precise APR values.

What are Interest Rates?

Interest rate is a percentage of the principal loan amount that lenders charge borrowers for the use of their money, typically expressed on an annual basis. It serves as the cost of borrowing the principal and is a key component in determining the monthly payments on loans and credit cards. In the context of real estate, the interest rate on a mortgage directly impacts the cost of acquiring a property, influencing both the monthly payments and the overall amount paid over the lifetime of the loan.

How to Calculate Interest Rate

To calculate the interest rate on a mortgage, you typically don’t need to perform any calculations as it is usually provided by your mortgage lender. However, to understand the impact of the interest rate, you can calculate the amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan. Here is a simplified example:


  • Loan Amount (Principal): $200,000
  • Monthly Payment: $1,200
  • Loan Term: 30 years

Step 1: Find the Total Payments

Multiply the monthly payment by the total number of payments over the loan term.

Total Payments = Monthly Payment multiplied by Number of Payments

Total Payments = $1200 multiplied by (30 years multiplied by 12 months/year)

Total Payments = $432,000

Step 2: Find the Total Interest Paid

Subtract the loan amount from the total payments to find the total interest paid over the life of the loan.

Total Interest Paid = Total Payments − Loan Amount

Total Interest Paid = $432,000 – $200,000

Total Interest Paid = $232,000

Step 3: Calculate the Annual Interest Rate

To find the annual interest rate, divide the total interest paid by the loan amount, and then convert it to a percentage.

Annual Interest Rate = (Total Interest Paid divided by Loan Amount) multiplied by 100

Annual Interest Rate = ($232,000 divided by $200,000) multiplied by 100

Annual Interest Rate ≈116%

In this simplified example, the calculated annual interest rate is approximately 116%. However, this result is not realistic for a typical mortgage, as it does not consider factors like compounding and monthly amortization. In actual mortgage calculations, the annual interest rate is significantly lower, and the calculation is more complex. This simplified example is for illustration purposes only.

What are the Differences Between APR and Interest Rate?

1. Scope of Expression

When assessing interest rate vs APR, it’s pivotal to recognize that the interest rate is expressed as a percentage of the principal balance of the loan, representing the cost of borrowing the principal amount for a home loan. It’s a critical component in determining your monthly payments. On the other hand, APR is calculated by expressing the total cost of the loan, inclusive of the interest rate and additional fees, as a yearly rate. It provides a broader and more comprehensive view of loan costs.

2. Incorporation of Additional Fees

Interest rates are calculated based solely on the principal loan amount, void of any additional fees or costs associated with securing the loan. Conversely, APR is calculated by amalgamating not only the interest rate but also any additional fees connected with the loan, such as mortgage insurance, broker fees, and closing costs. This makes the APR a more accurate reflection of the total cost of a home loan.

3. Impact on Monthly Payments and Total Loan Cost

When investors analyze the interest rate and APR, discerning the implications on both monthly payments and overall loan cost is essential. A lower interest rate results in lower monthly payments and reduces the total interest paid over the loan term. However, a lower APR intimates a lower overall cost of borrowing, considering all other factors and fees, even if the interest rate is higher.

4. Reflecting the True Cost of Borrowing

The interest rate is a fundamental factor, providing insight into the cost of borrowing the principal. However, APR, with its inclusive approach, portrays a more accurate depiction of the true cost of acquiring a loan, considering all fees and other factors. A lower APR typically indicates a more cost-effective loan, even if the associated interest rate is higher.

5. Variation and Fluctuation

Interest rates may fluctuate due to changes in market conditions, impacting the principal balance and monthly payments directly. However, the APR provides a more stable and consistent gauge, as it encompasses all the fees and costs, offering a more comprehensive and steadied outlook on the loan estimate.

6. Utility in Loan Comparison

In the context of APR vs interest rate, the former serves as an invaluable tool when comparing different loan options. While a lower interest rate may seem appealing, it does not account for any additional fees and costs. Evaluating loans based on APR ensures a more accurate and holistic comparison, allowing borrowers to discern which loan is truly the most economical over its term.

APR vs Interest Rates: Which is Better for Mortgages?

apr and interest calculating mortgage

Understanding the difference between APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and interest rate can be pivotal when you’re looking to secure a mortgage. The interest rate is straightforward; it’s the cost you’ll pay each year to borrow the money, expressed as a percentage. It’s crucial because it affects your monthly payments.

However, the APR gives you a more comprehensive picture. It includes the interest rate and other costs associated with the loan, such as origination fees and broker fees, making it a better gauge of the loan’s true cost per year. When you’re comparing mortgage offers, it’s smart to look at both the interest rate and the APR.

So, which is better? It depends on your perspective. If you’re focused on your monthly budget, you’ll likely concentrate on the interest rate, as it directly impacts your monthly payment. But if you’re looking at the total cost of the loan over time, the APR provides a more accurate and inclusive measure. Therefore, your specific circumstances, priorities, and plans will guide your choice between focusing on APR or interest rate.

Contact The Mortgage Shop about Mortgage Loans for Investment

Understanding the intricacies between APR and interest rate is instrumental for anyone venturing into acquiring an investment loan. By understanding how interest rates and APR are calculated and what they encompass, borrowers can make better decisions, potentially securing loans with lower costs and optimizing their investment endeavors in real estate.

The Mortgage Shop, LLC offers lending solutions to investors interested in vacation, short-term, and long-term rental properties. Our mission is to become your partner in long-term wealth creation. We specialize in various aspects of real estate investment encompassing DSCR interest rates, conventional loans, and 1031 exchanges.

Our aim is to provide you with a clear understanding of your property’s cash flow, enabling you to make informed decisions regarding your investments and loan procurement. Our dedicated team is devoted to guiding you throughout this journey, ensuring that you secure a loan tailored to your specific requirements, fostering your financial growth and stability. Contact The Mortgage Shop for more information about loan facilities for real estate investments.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mortgage Rates: APR and Interest Rate

What is the annual percentage rate (APR) for a mortgage?

The annual percentage rate (APR) for a mortgage is a comprehensive measure of the cost of borrowing, including the interest rate, mortgage points, and other fees, expressed as a percentage. It provides a more accurate picture of the total cost of the loan over its term.

Why is APR lower than the interest rate on a mortgage?

The APR on a mortgage can be lower than the interest rate because it takes into account all the costs associated with the loan, such as mortgage points and fees. These upfront costs can reduce the overall cost of borrowing, resulting in a lower APR compared to the interest rate.

What is the main advantage of knowing the annual percentage rate (APR) on a loan?

Knowing the APR on a loan allows borrowers to make more informed decisions. It helps them compare the total cost of different loan offers, including fees and interest, making it easier to choose the most cost-effective option and avoid potential financial surprises.

How does an annual percentage rate (APR) for mortgages differ from a more traditional interest rate?

The APR for mortgages differs from a traditional interest rate because it includes additional costs beyond interest, such as mortgage points and fees. While the interest rate represents the cost of borrowing the principal amount, the APR provides a more comprehensive view of the total cost of the loan, helping borrowers make better financial decisions.

How is APR calculated for variable-rate vs. fixed-rate mortgages?

There is a difference in calculating APR for variable-rate vs. fixed-rate mortgages. For fixed-rate mortgages, it factors in the fixed interest rate and associated fees. Variable rate mortgages take into account the initial interest rate, expected rate adjustments, and associated costs over the loan’s term. This distinction is important when comparing the true cost of borrowing between these two types of mortgages.

Brenna Carles

Brenna Carles

I help people who want a place to call their home, where memories can be made, and stories to be shared. Where i can help clients build generational wealth for years to come. I provide the perfect combination of southern hospitality and relentless knowledge and passion for mortgage lending as if you were family.