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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Loan - Tenure, Interest & EMI explained

The repayment of a loan taken to buy a house is made through EMIs (equated monthly instalments). EMIs are the fixed instalments which a borrower needs to pay over the tenure of the loan to repay the debt as well the related interest for the period to the bank.
Usually, the EMIs remain constant over the tenure of the loan. The loan amount plus the interest for the loan tenure, divided by the tenure of the loan (in months) gives you the EMI. The amount of EMI to be paid depends on and varies with the amount of loan, tenure of loan, and rate of interest. One of the important parameters governing the EMI is the tenure of the loan. Nowadays, you can avail loans for various tenures - between five and 20 years, and in a few cases upto 25 years as well.

Arriving at tenure
Here are two most significant factors that determine tenure:

Age: If you decide to borrow early, you can opt for a longer tenure loan - 15 to 25 years. This way, your monthly EMI payment would be less. Although the amount of interest paid would be higher as compared to other options, you can have the benefit of availing the loan for a longer period of time. However, if you are borrowing towards the end of your career, you may have to opt for a shorter tenure.

Income: This means both the present as well as the future income. You should be able to repay his EMIs without compromising drastically on your quality of living. The cash flows available after payment of EMIs should not entail a dent in the living standards. As such, a judicious planning of cash flows is required.

Tenure and interest
The longer the tenure, higher will be the interest rate. This is because of the increased risk the bank has to take. Also, the interest amount in absolute terms is higher, because of the longer tenure. However, the EMI is lower because the loan and interest are spread over a longer span of time.

The shorter the tenure, lower will be the interest rate. This is because of the relatively lower level of risk the bank takes. Also, the interest amount in absolute terms is lesser, because of the shorter tenure. However, the EMI is higher because the loan and interest are to be repaid over a shorter span of time.

Tax benefits
You should try to avail the maximum tax benefits available under the Income Tax Act. Presently, interest upto Rs 1.5 lakhs per annum paid on housing loans is deductible from the taxable income of a borrower. You should structure the housing loan amount and tenure so that your annual interest component paid in the near future is Rs 1.5 lakhs per annum. Of course, this would be contingent on other factors as well, like your annual income and savings potential.

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