What is a basis point in mortgage?

What is a basis point in mortgage?

What is a basis point in mortgage?



A basis point is a common term used in the mortgage industry to measure changes in interest rates. It is a unit of measurement that represents one-hundredth of a percentage point, or 0.01%. Understanding basis points is crucial for borrowers and lenders alike, as it helps determine the cost of borrowing and the profitability of lending. In this article, we will explore what a basis point is in the context of mortgages and how it affects borrowers and lenders.

What is a Basis Point?

A basis point, often abbreviated as “bps,” is a unit of measurement used to express small changes in interest rates, yields, and other financial percentages. It is widely used in the financial industry to avoid confusion when discussing small changes in rates. For example, instead of saying an interest rate increased by 0.25%, it is easier to say it increased by 25 basis points.

Calculating Basis Points in Mortgages

In the mortgage industry, basis points are used to measure changes in mortgage interest rates. Mortgage rates can fluctuate based on various factors such as economic conditions, inflation, and lender policies. When mortgage rates change, they are typically expressed in terms of basis points.

To calculate the basis points in a mortgage rate change, you subtract the new rate from the old rate and multiply the result by 100. For example, if the old mortgage rate was 4.25% and the new rate is 4.50%, the difference is 0.25%. Multiplying 0.25% by 100 gives you 25 basis points.

Impact on Borrowers

Basis points have a direct impact on borrowers when it comes to the cost of borrowing. Even a small change in interest rates can significantly affect the overall cost of a mortgage. For example, a 0.25% increase in interest rates may not seem substantial, but it can result in thousands of dollars in additional interest payments over the life of a mortgage.

Borrowers should pay close attention to basis point changes when considering a mortgage or refinancing an existing one. It is essential to compare rates from different lenders and understand how changes in basis points can affect monthly payments and the total cost of the loan.

Impact on Lenders

Basis points also play a crucial role for lenders. Lenders make money by charging borrowers interest on their loans. When interest rates increase, lenders can potentially earn more money on new loans. Conversely, when rates decrease, lenders may see a decrease in their profits.

Lenders closely monitor basis point changes to assess the profitability of their loan portfolios and make informed decisions about lending rates. They need to balance competitive rates to attract borrowers while ensuring their lending activities remain profitable.


In summary, a basis point is a unit of measurement used to express small changes in interest rates. In the mortgage industry, basis points are crucial for both borrowers and lenders. Borrowers need to understand how basis point changes can impact the cost of borrowing, while lenders use basis points to assess profitability and set competitive rates. It is important for borrowers to stay informed about basis point changes and compare rates from different lenders to make informed decisions about their mortgages.


– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com/terms/b/basispoint.asp
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-basis-point-3305888
– Bankrate: www.bankrate.com/glossary/b/basis-point/