Loan-to-Value Ratio

MoneyBestPal Team
Loan-to-V = Loan Amount / Asset Value

What is the Loan-to-Value Ratio?

The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) expresses the amount that a lender is ready to lend based on the value of an asset, like a piece of real estate. It is computed by dividing the loan amount by the asset's acquisition price or appraised value, whichever is less. For instance, the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 80% ($160,000 / $200,000) if the borrower wants to purchase a $200,000 home and the lender agrees to finance $160,000.

One key metric for assessing the risk associated with lending is the LTV ratio. Higher loan-to-value ratios indicate higher debt levels and lower borrower equity in the asset. This raises the likelihood of default in the event that the borrower is unable to repay the loan or that the asset value drops. A lower loan-to-value ratio indicates that the borrower has less debt and more equity in the asset. This lowers the lender's risk and might lead to better loan conditions and lower interest rates.

Why is the Loan-to-Value Ratio important?

The loan-to-value ratio influences the cost and availability of credit, making it significant for both lenders and borrowers. The loan-to-value ratio (LTV ratio) establishes the maximum loan amount and interest rate that borrowers can incur. Borrowers with lower loan-to-value ratios typically have more financing options available to them and pay cheaper interest rates than those with higher ratios. This is due to the fact that lenders believe they have a lower chance of defaulting or going underwater (owing more than the asset is worth).

Lenders can evaluate the risk and profitability of lending with the use of the LTV ratio. When determining what terms to give and whether to approve a loan application, lenders take the LTV ratio into account. Because they have greater collateral to recoup their losses in the event of a default or foreclosure, lenders often favor lower LTV ratios. To make up for the increased risk, lenders may additionally impose higher interest rates, extra costs, or insurance requirements on loans with higher loan-to-value ratios.

Formula for Loan-to-Value Ratio

The formula for calculating the loan-to-value ratio is:

LTV = Loan Amount / Asset Value

  • Loan Amount is the amount of money that the lender agrees to lend to the borrower.
  • Asset Value is the appraised value or purchase price of the asset that secures the loan, whichever is lower.

How to calculate Loan-to-Value Ratio

To calculate the loan-to-value ratio, you need to divide the amount of money you borrow by the appraised value of the property.

For example, if you want to buy a house that is worth $300,000 and you have a $60,000 down payment, you need to borrow $240,000. The loan-to-value ratio is:

LTV = 240,000 / 300,000
LTV = 0.8 or 80%

The loan-to-value ratio tells you how much equity you have in the property and how much risk you are taking as a borrower. The lower the LTV, the more equity you have and the less risk for the lender. The higher the LTV, the less equity you have and the more risk for the lender.

Examples of Loan-to-Value Ratio

Here are some examples of different loan-to-value ratios and what they mean for borrowers and lenders.
  • The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) for a borrower purchasing a $200,000 home with a $10,000 down payment is 90% ($180,000 / $200,000). In order to safeguard the lender in the event of a default, they must pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) and have 10% equity in the home.
  • An LTV of 83.3% ($150,000 / $180,000) applies to a borrower wishing to refinance their $150,000 mortgage on a home that is currently worth $180,000. This indicates that they own 16.7% of the home, meaning that if they are approved for a new loan, they could be able to get rid of PMI or reduce their interest rate.
  • The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) for a borrower seeking a $50,000 home equity loan on a $250,000 home with a $100,000 mortgage is 60% (($100,000 + $50,000) / $250,000. This indicates that they own 40% of the home and are free to use the loan however they see fit.

Limitations of Loan-to-Value Ratio

The loan-to-value ratio is a useful tool to measure the risk and reward of borrowing money to buy or refinance a property. However, it has some limitations that borrowers and lenders should be aware of.
  • The appraised valuation of the property, which may not represent the genuine market value or the possible resale value, is the basis for the loan-to-value ratio. Variations in the market, repairs, damage, and other variables may cause the evaluated worth to alter over time.
  • Other elements such as income, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and interest rate that may impact the borrower's capacity to repay the loan are not taken into consideration by the loan-to-value ratio. The lender's decision to grant or reject a loan application or to offer alternative terms and conditions may also be influenced by these considerations.
  • The loan-to-value ratio does not take into account the nature or intent of the loan, which may have distinct risks and advantages for each party. In contrast to an adjustable-rate mortgage, a fixed-rate mortgage could have a lower loan-to-value (LTV) but a higher interest rate or a longer repayment duration. Though it might have cheaper closing fees or better tax benefits than a primary mortgage, a home equity loan might have a greater loan-to-value (LTV).


A high LTV ratio is often associated with higher interest rates. This is because loans with high LTV ratios are considered higher-risk loans.

A loan with a high LTV ratio may require the borrower to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) to offset the risk to the lender.

Most lenders offer the lowest possible interest rate when the loan-to-value ratio is at or below 80%.

These programs allow an LTV ratio of 97% (3% down payment) but require mortgage insurance (PMI) until the ratio falls to 80%.

Determining an LTV ratio is a critical component of mortgage underwriting. It may be used in the process of buying a home, refinancing a current mortgage into a new loan, or borrowing against accumulated equity within a property.

When borrowers request a loan for an amount that is at or near the appraised value (and therefore has a higher LTV ratio), lenders perceive that there is a greater chance of the loan going into default.