Back in the late 80’s, the Japanese housing market came to a grinding halt. Homes were no longer affordable for your average Japanese consumer. The government came to the rescue with a novel idea: 99 year mortgages. You could buy a house, pay lower more affordable payments, your son or daughter would take over and pay the mortgage down and finally your grandchild at some time close to retirement age would finally pay off your mortgage.
Who would want to do this? This was a short term solution. In 2007, we had 40-year amortized mortgages which allowed a great number of people to buy homes who normally would have continued to rent. This created a housing boom, but it made the banks nervous and terms were cut back to 35 years, then 30 and finally back to where they were in 2005 at 25 years. While longer amortizations mean lower monthly payments, the flip side is that you end up paying a lot more interest over time.
Mortgage professionals use amortization as a tool to help their clients at various stages in their lives. Often we use the maximum 25 years to help people get into their first homes. The idea is to get them into home ownership regardless of the cost. Later when they renew we often suggest a shorter amortization if it’s possible.
For example, after paying down a mortgage for 5 years, a couple with a $300,000 mortgage renewing today would be offered a 20-year amortized mortgage with monthly payments of $1659. In 5 years the couple will have paid $40,356 in interest $59,214 in principal and have a balance of $240,785 left on the mortgage.
If the amortization was shortened to 17 years the payment would go up to $1,874.95, an increase of $215.95. but at the end of 5 years they would have paid $39,365 in interest, $73,131 in principal and have a balance of $226,868.11. In addition, they would now only have 12 years instead of 13 years on their mortgage.
Now, if they are at a stage in life where their twins are going to be going to university or if they need to build a granny suite for aging parents, they may need to lower monthly payments in order to pay for renovations. If they have 20% equity in their home, they could extend their amortization to 30 or even 35 years with some lenders.
Now their monthly payment drops to $1,260 with a 30 year amortization.
And it drops to $1,149 with a 35 year amortization.
Amortization is only one tool that your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can use to save you interest, help you to pay off your mortgage quicker or to lower your mortgage payments. Be sure to call and ask them for help.