The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is a financial term used by lenders to express the ratio of a loan to the value of an asset purchased. The term is commonly used by banks and building societies to represent the ratio of the first mortgage line as a percentage of the total appraised value of real property. For instance, if someone borrows $130,000 to purchase a house worth $150,000, the LTV ratio is $130,000 to $150,000 or $130,000/$150,000, or 87%. The remaining 13% represent the lender’s haircut, adding up to 100% and being covered from the borrower’s equity. The higher the LTV ratio, the riskier the loan is for a lender.
The valuation of a property is typically determined by an appraiser, but a better measure is an arms-length transaction between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Typically, banks will utilize the lesser of the appraised value and purchase price if the purchase is “recent” (within 1–2 years).
Loan to value is one of the key risk factors that lenders assess when qualifying borrowers for a mortgage. The risk of default is always at the forefront of lending decisions, and the likelihood of a lender absorbing a loss increases as the amount of equity decreases. Therefore, as the LTV ratio of a loan increases, the qualification guidelines for certain mortgage programs become much more strict. Lenders can require borrowers of high LTV loans to buy mortgage insurance to protect the lender from the buyer’s default, which increases the costs of the mortgage.
Low LTV ratios (below 80%) carry with them lower rates for lower-risk borrowers and allow lenders to consider higher-risk borrowers, such as those with low credit scores, previous late payments in their mortgage history, high debt-to-income ratios, high loan amounts or cash-out requirements, insufficient reserves and/or no income. Higher LTV ratios are primarily reserved for borrowers with higher credit scores and a satisfactory mortgage history. Full financing, or 100% LTV, is reserved for only the most credit-worthy borrowers. The loans with LTV ratios higher than 100% are called underwater mortgages.
Combined loan to value ratio (HTV PSV)
Combined loan to value ratio (CLTV) is the proportion of loans (secured by a property) in relation to its value. The term “combined loan to value” adds additional specificity to the basic loan to value which simply indicates the ratio between one primary loan and the property value. When “combined” is added, it indicates that additional loans on the property have been considered in the calculation of the percentage ratio.
The aggregate principal balance(s) of all mortgages on a property divided by its appraised value or purchase price, whichever is less. Distinguishing CLTV from LTV serves to identify loan scenarios that involve more than one mortgage. For example, a property valued at $100,000 with a single mortgage of $50,000 has an LTV of 50%. A similar property with a value of $100,000 with a first mortgage of $50,000 and a second mortgage of $25,000 has an aggregate mortgage balance of $75,000. The CLTV is 75%.
Combined loan to value is an amount in addition to the Loan to Value, which simply represents the first position mortgage or loan as a percentage of the property’s value.
In the United States, conforming loans that meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac underwriting guidelines are limited to an LTV ratio that is less than or equal to 80%. Conforming loans above 80% are allowed but typically require private mortgage insurance. Other over-80% LTV loan options exist as well. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures purchase loans to 96.5%, TD Bank, Toronto-Dominion Bank’s U.S. unit, which on Friday, April 18, 2014, began accepting down payments as low as 3% through an initiative called “Right Step”, geared toward first-time buyers and low- and moderate-income buyers (97% LTV), and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and United States Department of Agricultureguarantee purchase loans to 100%.
Properties with more than one lien, such as stand-alone seconds and home equity lines of credit (HELOC), are subject to combined loan to value (CLTV) criteria. The LTV for the stand-alone seconds and Home Equity Line of Credit would be the loan balance as a percentage of the appraised value. However, in order to measure the riskiness of the borrower, one should look at all outstanding mortgage debt.
In Australia, the term loan to value ratio (LVR) is used. An LVR of 80% or below is considered to be low risk for standard conforming loans, and 60% and below for a no doc loan or low doc loan. Higher LVRs of up to 95% are available if the loan is mortgage insured. It’s also possible to take out a home loan with a 100% LVR, where home buyers aren’t required to save up for a deposit. However, due to its risky stance, there are strict requirements for those who wish to take out a 100% LVR home loan such as using a guarantor, also known as a Guarantor home loan.
In New Zealand, the Reserve Bank has introduced Loan-to-Value restrictions on the banks in order to slow the rapidly growing property market – particularly in Auckland. The LVR restrictions mean that banks are not permitted to make more than 10 percent of their residential mortgage lending to high-LVR (less than 20 percent deposit) owner-occupier borrowers and they must restrict their high-LVR (less than 40 percent deposit) lending to investors to no more than 5 percent of residential mortgage lending.
In the UK, mortgages with an LTV of up to 125% were quite common in the run-up to the national / global economic problems, but today (November 2011) there are very few mortgages available with an LTV of over 90% – and 75% LTV mortgages are the most common.
- ^“What is loan-to-value ratio (LVR) & how does it affect interest rates?”. savings.com.au. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
- ^“Loan-to-value ratio restrictions FAQs – Reserve Bank of New Zealand”. www.rbnz.govt.nz. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
Ofer Abarbanel is a 25 year securities lending broker and expert who has advised many Israeli regulators, among them the Israel Tax Authority, with respect to stock loans, repurchase agreements and credit derivatives. Founder of TBIL.co STATX Fund.