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It's a question almost everyone is asking: "Should I refinance my mortgage?" If so, what's the best way to pay for my mortgage refinance

It's a question almost everyone is asking: "Should I refinance my mortgage?" If so, what's the best way to pay for my mortgage refinance

When will I begin paying more principal than interest?

Q: I have a 30-year fixed rate at 4 percent. When will my payment include more principal than interest?

A: In a fixed-rate mortgage, the amount of your monthly payment will not change, but the composition of the payment will over time. The tipping point for a fixed-rate mortgage--when the payment becomes more principal than interest--is a function of the interest rate and term. You might be surprised to find that the amount of the loan doesn't come into play at all!

In your case, a 4 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate will see a payment comprised of equal parts principal and interest at about payment number 154. If your rate was 3.5 percent, that would move up to about payment number 120. If it was 5 percent, you would be waiting around until payment number 194, more than 16 and a half years after you began making payments.

ATE Graph

To see this for any loan, you can use HSH.com's Mortgage Calculator. Click on the green "See Details Year by Year" button, then scroll down to the year displayed where total annual principal and interest payments are pretty close (the calculators payment component chart can help you here, too), then open up the year to find the exact payment when balance is achieved.

If you prefer a print-and-take away version for your files, you can use our mortgage calculator which will give you a side-by-side breakout, including the payment number.

Ask the expert
Keith Gumbinger
Keith Gumbinger
Mortgage Expert
Vice President, HSH.com
About Keith: Mortgage market observer and analyst with 35 years experience... (more)
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