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Why I Hate 40-Year Loans

Apr 3, 2008
During the subprime crisis we saw the advent of numerous bizarre loan products. In general the new loan products were designed to get people into houses they could not normally afford. As people started to default on their mortgages banks realized many of these loan products were not a good idea. During the subprime crisis we saw most of these new loan programs fall to the wayside. I think in most cases this is a good thing. Many of these new loan products reduced the chances that individuals could gain equity in their homes by paying off principle.

When difficult times arose for people they were in a difficult position because although they had made years of payments their loan balance had not changed. The worst of the new loan products had "teaser rates" so that individuals made low payments for a few years until the rate and their mortgage shot up. Its a wonder why banks are surprised by the number of foreclosures.
The one product that has seemed to survive the subprime meltdown is the 40 year loan. I am not a fan of the 40 year loan. Mostly because the savings are minimal. Lets look at the current mortgage interest rates from Wells Fargo for a 40 year, 30 year and 15 year loan.

40 Year Loan = 6.375
30 Year Loan = 5.75
15 Year Loan = 5.125

Now lets look at the mortgage payments on a 200k house.

40 Year Loan = 1153.14
30 Year Loan = 1167.14
15 Year Loan = 1594.64

While the difference between a 30 year loan and a 15 year is substantial, $441.50, the difference between a 40 year loan and a 15 year loan is only $14 per month. A little savings but is it really worth adding a whole extra 10 years to your mortgage. So over 30 years $14 dollars a month amounts to $5040. On the other hand an extra 10 years of mortgage payments comes out to $138,377. To run the numbers a different way by putting down a mere $2400 on your 30 year loan you would get the same mortgage payment as you would on a 40 year loan.

Obviously everyone's situation is different and in a small number of cases a 40 year loan might be warranted. But in general the 40 year loan adds extra years to a person's loan for a minimal benefit.
About the Author
Ki works as a realtor in the Austin real estate market. He provides updated stats on the market on his Austin real estate blog along with a free search of the Austin MLS.
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