MarketWatch had an interesting piece on mortgages entitled “Here’s how much a 40-year mortgage would save you each month vs. a 30-year loan. And the ultimate cost.”
To make a long story short, a 40-year mortgage, by stretching the payment out from 30 to 40 years, means that the mortgage mortgage payment declines from $1,687 to $1,504.
Given that the US Treasury yield curve only goes out to 30 years, lenders (and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) will have to use the US Dollar Swaps curve to price mortgages. And since the swaps curve is downward sloping, we could see 50-year mortgages at a lower rate than 30-year mortgages, ceteris paribus.
But with The Fed planning on taking away the monetary punchbowl, mortgage rates are rising making housing even more unaffordable.
But most things are not equal. The 40-year mortgage results in a slower paydown of the mortgage, increasing the lender’s exposure to property value declines. A 50-year mortgage would even be worse.
But the real problem with the 40-year mortgage is that it can lead to even MORE unaffordable housing. Yes, going from 30-year to 40-year mortgages lowers the mortgage payment, but a 40-year mortgage could increase the demand for housing. And since we already have soaring home prices since Covid (thanks to Fed monetary policy AND Federal government stimulus), we could actually see a worsening of the housing bubble). Particularly since REAL average earnings are declining.
What a mess that has been created by the government’s pursuit of “affordable housing.” Ideally, the Federal government could help raise household earnings through lowering of Federal tax rates, but the Biden Administration wants to raise taxes. Alternatively, lenders (and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) could lower lending standards (e.g., lowering required credit scores), or reduce downpayments to 0%. Lowering credit standards and reducing required downpayments are also inflationary and pose serious potential problems with default risk.
Not to mention that a 40-year mortgage increases the duration risk for owner’s of the 40-year mortgage.
And don’t forget that local governments frown on multifamily (apartment) construction (the Not In My Backyard [NIMBY] problem contributing to rising housing prices.
Yes, the US has a bad case of unaffordable housing. And the 40-year mortgage will make it worse.