Why does the majority of my mortgage payment start out as interest and gradually move toward mostly principal?

By Jared Coulson AAA
A:

When you make a mortgage payment, the amount paid is a combination of an interest charge and principal repayment. Over the life of the mortgage, the portions of interest to principal will change.

At first, your payment will be primarily interest, with a small amount of principal included. As the mortgage matures, the principal portion of the payment will increase and the interest portion will decrease. This is due to the interest charge being calculated off the present outstanding balance of the mortgage, which decreases as more principal is repaid. The smaller the mortgage principal, the less interest is charged. (If you have negative amortization and your mortgage is actually growing in debt, see Understanding the Mortgage Payment Structure.)

For example, let's examine a simple mortgage for $100,000 at an interest rate of 4% annually and a time to maturity of 24 years. The yearly mortgage payment is $6,558.68. The first payment will consist of an interest charge of $4,000 ($100,000 x 4%) and a principal repayment of $2558.68 ($6,558.68 - $4,000). The outstanding mortgage balance after this payment is $97,441.32 ($100,000 - $2,558.68). The next payment is equal to the first, $6558.68, but will now have a different proportion of interest to principal. The interest charge for the second payment equals $3,897.65 ($97,441.32 x 4%), while the principal prepayment is $2,661.03 ($6,558.68 - $3,897.65).

The principal portion of the second payment is about $100 larger than the first. This occurs because you've paid money towards the principal amount - lessening it - and the new interest payment is calculated on the lower principal amount. Near the end of the mortgage, the payments will be primarily principal repayments.

To learn how to start paying down your principal more quickly, see Be Mortgage-Free Faster.

RELATED FAQS

  1. What do mortgage lenders use the securitization food chain?

    Read about the origins of Chris Ferguson's securitization food chain, and find out how mortgage lenders could package and ...
  2. Do mortgage escrow accounts earn interest?

    Paying down monthly mortgage escrow accounts? Will you receive any interest on this payment? If you are, should you put more ...
  3. What role did securitization play in the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis?

    Learn how the securitization of sub-prime mortgages into asset-backed securities fueled the real estate market crash in 2 ...
  4. How often is interest compounded?

    Understand what compound interest is and how the compounding of interest applies to the benefit of investors or creditors, ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Total Annual Loan Cost (TALC)

    The projected total cost that a reverse mortgage holder should ...
  2. Forbearance

    A temporary postponement of mortgage payments.
  3. Mortgage Modification

    A permanent change in a homeowner's home loan terms that makes ...
  4. USDA Non-Streamlined Refinancing

    A mortgage-refinancing option offered by the United States Department ...
  5. No-Appraisal Mortgage

    A type of home loan used for refinancing for which the lender ...
  6. No-Appraisal Refinancing

    A type of mortgage for which the lender does not require an independent, ...

You May Also Like

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Can American Capital Agency Maintain ...

  2. Stock Analysis

    How Two Harbors' Derivatives Work?

  3. Stock Analysis

    How Chimera Investment Bear The Brunt ...

  4. Stock Analysis

    How Are Interest Rates Affecting Annaly ...

  5. Investing

    Ready To Invest In Financial Leverage ...

Trading Center