Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio: Everything You Need to Know

Irina Tsymbaliuk
Loan-to-Value Ratio

Are you considering buying real estate? Have you looked into your LTV yet? If you’re unsure how to answer, this article is for you. We’ll explain LTV’s meaning, its role in getting a home loan, common challenges, and how to estimate it.

Understanding the LTV Ratio

Understanding the LTV Ratio

So, what does Loan-to-Value mean? It indicates the relationship between the loan amount and the value of an asset purchased. This ratio is most frequently used to issue a home ownership loan. In most banks, its maximum possible level is 70–80% of the pledged property’s cost. The higher the LTV ratio, the more risks the loan brings to a lender.

In parallel, a low LTV reduces the risk taken by lenders because they have more secure collateral. Let’s say you borrow $50,000, and the value of the house you’re buying is $100,000. The LTV, in this case, is 50%. This shows how much of the value of the collateral covers your loan.

LTV Calculation Explained

LTV Calculation Explained

LTV calculation is pretty simple. You just need to divide your credit sum by the purchase price and multiply it by 100% to find the result. So, the formula looks like this:

(Loan Size / Purchase Price) * 100% = LTV

The Loan-to-Value Ratio is always presented as a percentage. Therefore, if the calculation gives 0.60, the LTV is 60%.

Imagine you want to buy an apartment appraised at $500,000, but the owner agrees to sell it for $400,000. With a $40,000 first installment, the loan amount is $360,000, resulting in an LTV ratio of 90%.

Why Is LTV Important?

Why Is LTV Important?

Risk Assessment

LTV is a key determinant of the lender’s risk level. A lender providing loans to borrowers with a higher LTV runs a larger risk of losing money. LTV assessment enables lenders to evaluate risks more precisely by establishing loan terms, including interest rates, down payment conditions, and the prospect of mortgage insurance. And appropriate risk assessment requires consideration of multiple factors, including the economic environment, the client’s credit rating, etc.

Thus, LTV analysis helps lenders make cautious choices by minimizing potential losses and ensuring the stability of money operations.

Mortgage Insurance

What is Loan-to-Value Ratio for mortgage insurance? Generally, clients who have low LTVs typically have additional benefits, such as:

  • Be eligible for decreased interest rates;
  • Eliminating insurance contributions on private mortgages;
  • Greater chance of being approved for the underwriting of a home mortgage loan.

Interestingly, suppose you pay even half a percent lower interest. In that case, you can reduce your mortgage payments every month, and in perspective, it adds up to savings of thousands of dollars throughout the loan.

Making a considerable deposit and lowering the loan LTV ratio to 80% or below has substantial benefits. Homeowners with an 80% LTV don’t require private mortgage insurance. Moreover, they frequently qualify for cheaper borrowing rates.


Equity is part of the value of an asset (e.g., real estate) that is paid for by the borrower’s own funds when purchasing or refinancing. It directly affects LTV. The higher the equity, the lower the LTV, so the smaller the risk a lender bears.

This affects risk level. In general, a lender views greater equity as more favorable because a borrower contributes a larger share of an asset’s value. In addition, it can mean reduced interest rates and beneficial loan conditions for a borrower.

Minimum equity requirements may vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, many mortgage lending programs may demand an equity contribution from the prospective owner in the amount of 20% of the home’s worth when they buy a house. To safeguard your interests as a lender, you could need mortgage insurance if the equity isn’t high enough to reach a particular LTV limit.

LTV Limits Explained

LTV Limits Explained

Conventional Mortgage

A conventional mortgage is a type of home loan offered by private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies. Unlike FHA loans, conventional loans typically require a higher credit score to qualify and are not backed by a government entity. However, some conventional mortgages can be guaranteed by two government-sponsored enterprises: the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). Also consider lenders require borrowers who want to forego paying private mortgage insurance to have a maximum Loan-to-Value of 80%.

If you meet the strict requirements for a conventional mortgage, it can be a cost-effective way to finance the purchase of a home. For instance, if you were to buy a $500,000 home with a $100,000 down payment (20% of the purchase price) and had a credit score of 650, you might qualify for a conventional mortgage with a fixed interest rate of 5.50%. This would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of approximately $2,271 over a 30-year loan term.

FHA Loans

Homebuyers can apply for FHA loans through the Federal Housing Administration. Their main goal is to assist borrowers who would struggle to put down a deposit on a conventional loan. The maximum allowable Loan-to-Value for FHA loans is 96.5%.

Bear in mind that making higher down payments won’t save you any money because all FHA loans demand borrowers to get mortgage insurance as part of the credit program.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) protects the lender if the borrower cannot repay the loan and the debt is not cleared. A lender may insist a borrower buy this insurance if the LTV is high. PMI usually covers the difference between the property’s appraised worth and the current mortgage debt. It enables lenders to safeguard themselves against any losses in the event of a borrower’s default. As a result, for borrowers with high LTVs, private mortgage insurance may be necessary to minimize the lender’s risk.

Final Thought

Understanding an LTV formula is helpful as most mortgages are founded on it. If you know your LTV, you can define what loan you can claim. You may save money on PMI and have more alternatives for refinancing later by maintaining a low LTV ratio. That’s why be sure you know the Loan-to-Value Ratio and how it will affect all of the terms of your loan before applying for a mortgage.