What is a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage?

What is a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage?

What is a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage?



A 3 2 1 buydown mortgage is a type of mortgage loan that offers borrowers a temporary interest rate reduction in the early years of the loan term. This means that the interest rate is lower than the fully indexed rate for the first few years, gradually increasing over time until it reaches the fully indexed rate. In this article, we will explore the details of a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage and how it can benefit borrowers.

Understanding the 3 2 1 Buydown Mortgage

A 3 2 1 buydown mortgage is a variation of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). With a traditional ARM, the interest rate is fixed for an initial period, typically 3, 5, 7, or 10 years, and then adjusts periodically based on a predetermined index. However, with a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage, the interest rate is artificially lowered during the initial years of the loan.

The “3 2 1” in the term refers to the buydown structure. In the first year of the loan, the interest rate is reduced by 3%. In the second year, it is reduced by 2%. And in the third year, it is reduced by 1%. After the third year, the interest rate adjusts to the fully indexed rate, which is determined by adding a margin to the index.

This buydown structure allows borrowers to enjoy lower monthly payments in the early years of the loan, making homeownership more affordable during that period. It can be particularly beneficial for borrowers who expect their income to increase in the future or those who plan to sell the property before the interest rate adjusts.

Benefits of a 3 2 1 Buydown Mortgage

There are several advantages to choosing a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage:

Lower Initial Payments: The reduced interest rate in the early years of the loan results in lower monthly mortgage payments. This can be especially helpful for first-time homebuyers or those with tight budgets, allowing them to ease into homeownership without experiencing a significant financial burden.

Qualification Assistance: The lower initial payments can also help borrowers qualify for a larger loan amount. Since lenders typically assess a borrower’s ability to repay based on the initial payment amount, a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage can increase the borrower’s purchasing power.

Flexibility: The reduced interest rate during the buydown period provides borrowers with more flexibility in managing their finances. They can allocate the saved funds towards other financial goals, such as paying off high-interest debts or saving for future expenses.

Considerations and Potential Drawbacks

While a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage can offer advantages, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks:

Long-Term Costs: Although the initial payments are lower, borrowers should be aware that the interest rate will eventually adjust to the fully indexed rate. This means that the monthly payments will increase after the buydown period ends. Borrowers should carefully evaluate their long-term financial situation to ensure they can afford the higher payments in the future.

Interest Rate Risk: Like any adjustable-rate mortgage, a 3 2 1 buydown mortgage is subject to interest rate fluctuations. If interest rates rise significantly after the buydown period, borrowers may face higher monthly payments than they initially anticipated. It’s important to consider the potential impact of interest rate changes on your ability to afford the mortgage.


A 3 2 1 buydown mortgage can be an attractive option for borrowers who want lower initial payments and increased flexibility in the early years of their mortgage. It allows borrowers to ease into homeownership and potentially qualify for a larger loan amount. However, it’s crucial to carefully consider the long-term costs and potential interest rate risks associated with this type of mortgage.


– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com
– Bankrate: www.bankrate.com