How much of your mortgage is going to principal and interest?
How to calculate principal and interest in home loans
If you’re all about that simple life, calculating the principal and interest components of your regular repayments is as easy as plugging your details into InfoChoice’s calculator (above).
However, if you’d prefer to do the maths yourself, here’s the formula to calculate the interest component on each of your monthly repayments and create an amortisation schedule:
Interest payment = outstanding balance x (interest rate / number of payments per year)
So, let’s imagine you’ve got a $300,000 home loan with a 5% per annum interest rate and monthly repayments. Your formula would look like this:
300000 x (0.05 / 12) = 1250
And voila! Your regular monthly repayment would include $1,250 of interest. In the early days, much more of your total repayment will go towards interest, rather than principal.
Now, let’s assume that $300,000 home loan has a term of 25 years. Using InfoChoice’s home loan calculator, we can see the monthly repayments on such a loan could be expected to be $1,753.77.
1753.77 - 1250 = 503.77
The shorter your loan term, the higher the repayments will be, but the lower total interest will be payable.
By subtracting $1,250 from $1,753.77, we know that the first monthly repayment will see $503.77 shaved off the principal balance of the home loan, leaving $299,496.23 remaining.
The interest included in the second monthly repayment, therefore, would be calculated like this:
299496.23 x (0.05 / 12) = 1247.90
And by continuing this pattern, you can work out your own amortisation schedule and learn how much of your repayments will be principal and interest for the remainder of your loan’s life. Or, you could simply use the above calculator – it's your call!
Variable More details
loans.com.au – Variable Home Loan (LVR < 90%)
Variable More details FEATUREDRefinance onlyAPPLY IN MINUTES
Unloan – Variable Rate Home Loan – Refinance Only
Unloan – Variable Rate Home Loan – Refinance Only
What does ‘principal’ and ‘interest’ mean?
The term principal and interest refers to the two portions of your regular home loan repayments. Let’s break it down.
When you take out a home loan, you’re agreeing to borrow money from a lender and make regular repayments to pay it back over a set number of years or decades. But the lender has to make money somehow - they do that by charging you interest.
That’s why each payment you make can be broken down into two parts: Principal and interest.
The portion of your regular repayments that go towards your principal actively lowers the amount you’ve borrowed. Meaning, the more you pay in principal, the shorter the life of your loan will be.
On the other hand, the portion that goes towards interest does nothing for you financially. Charging interest is the way lenders typically make money and the amount you pay is determined by how much you’ve borrowed and your interest rate.
Key definition: Amortisation schedule
An amortisation schedule sounds more technical than it is but it basically shows that you pay more in interest at the start of the loan, and much more principal later on.
You can see a breakdown of an example amortisation schedule on our home loan calculator.
How to reduce your interest payments
Were you shocked by how much of your regular home loan repayments are going towards interest, rather than paying off your debt? You’re very likely not alone, especially if your home loan is relatively young.
The longer a person continually pays off their mortgage, the smaller their principal balance will likely be compared to where it started. And since the amount of interest charged is based on that balance, the portion of your repayments that go towards interest can be expected to become smaller and smaller as the years go by.
There are three key options to reduce your interest payments and total interest payable:
- Make extra repayments. Even switching to fortnightly payments instead of monthly means you’ll pay nearly one extra month’s worth in the year. You can use the extra repayment calculator to find out if it makes a difference. Be aware that some loans might not allow extra repayments without a fee.
- Make use of an offset account or redraw facility. Just be wary they aren’t exactly the same thing, and fixed-rate home loans might not have the feature. They won’t reduce your repayments but will reduce total interest payable.
- Refinance to a lower interest rate. If you have built up a bit of equity, you can usually refinance to a home loan that has more flexibility or a lower interest rate. Be wary of the costs of refinancing, including break costs if you’ve fixed.
The three options above could shave months or even years off your home loan, potentially saving a lot of money in interest.
How to get a better interest rate
The interest rate offered to you will depend on a number of factors, including your lender, credit score, the type of loan you sign up for, if you’re low-doc, and how much of the total value of a home you’re borrowing through a mortgage.
If you’ve signed on with an uncompetitive lender, you might be able to refinance to another offering lower rates if you’re on a variable rate. Meanwhile, if the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) of your home is notably high, paying down some of your principal might see you eligible for lower rate loans in the future.
Ultimately, though, the cash rate – set by the Reserve Bank of Australia – is arguably the most impactful determiner of interest rates charged to borrowers. So, if you follow all the above steps and still find you’re unable to find a lower interest rate home loan, you might simply have to wait for the central bank to cut the cash rate and hopefully your mortgage rate follows.