How to calculate loan to value ratio?

how to calculate loan to value ratio

To calculate a loan-to-value ratio, divide the loan amount by the property’s value. A loan-to-value ratio helps lenders assess the risk of the loan, so it’s crucial to get accurate details. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of a loan-to-value ratio and 

What Is a Loan-to-Value Ratio?

The loan-to-value ratio (LTV ratio) measures the value of an asset compared to its financed amount. According to Certified Public Accountant Mark Stewart, “A good loan-to-value ratio is within 80% and below.1 

The LTV ratio is used in different types of secured loans, such as:

Each loan type has its own acceptable LTV range, reflecting the varying levels of risk associated with different assets. For instance, auto loans typically have a higher LTV ratio due to the rapid depreciation of vehicles. In fact, a 2023 study from J.D. Power and TransUnion pointed out that the average LTV ratio of used car financing ballooned to 125%.2

A high LTV ratio suggests more risk for the lender, as it indicates a smaller equity stake by the borrower. This can lead to higher interest rates or even loan denial. Conversely, a low LTV ratio implies less risk, often resulting in more favorable loan terms. 

Down payments play a significant role in determining the LTV ratio. A higher down payment results in a lower LTV ratio, indicating less risk for the lender. For borrowers, a lower LTV can lead to better interest rates and loan terms. 

Detailed Steps for a Loan-to-Value Ratio Calculation 

Here is an example of a loan-to-value calculation to better understand the process:

1. Determine the Appraised Property ValueObtain the current market value of the property.Let’s say the property’s appraised value is $300,000.
2. Ascertain the Loan AmountIdentify the total amount of the loan you are seeking or have obtained for the property.Assume the loan amount is $240,000.
3. Divide the Loan Amount by the Property ValueUse the formula: LTV = (Loan Amount / Property Value).LTV = $240,000 / $300,000 = 0.8
4. Convert to PercentageMultiply the result from step 3 by 100 to get the LTV ratio as a percentage.0.8 × 100 = 80%
5. Interpret the ResultA higher LTV ratio indicates a higher risk to the lender, while a lower LTV ratio suggests lower risk.An LTV of 80% means the loan is 80% of the property’s value, which is a common threshold for avoiding additional costs like mortgage insurance.

Numerous online resources, including financial websites and lender pages, offer guides and financial calculators for LTV calculation. You can also try getting advice from financial advisors to get personalized guidance.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Calculating LTV

When calculating the LTV ratio, it’s important to be precise and mindful of common pitfalls. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Incorrect property valuation 
  • Overlooking additional loan amounts 
  • Not considering down payments 
  • Ignoring property improvements or damages 
  • Neglecting market fluctuations 
  • Forgetting to update LTV
  • Overestimating property value 

How Loan-to-Value Ratio Impacts Loans and Insurance 

A home’s loan-to-value ratio will play an important role in both your mortgage process and when applying for home equity loans and lines of credit. 

Impact on a Mortgage

One of the differences between a personal loan vs. a mortgage is that lenders will have many things to look at, including the home’s loan-to-value ratio. Your LTV ratio can affect your eligibility for various mortgage programs. For example, first-time homebuyer programs or government-backed loans might have different LTV requirements. 

Lenders want to make sure that if they cannot pay back the loan, they will be able to get their money back from the home. One reason why having an appraised property is essential for the home loan funding process

Impact on a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit

With a home equity loan, a higher combined loan-to-value ratio will make it harder for you to get funding. If you cannot repay the home equity loan, lenders will want to make sure they can get their funds back through the home. 

Impact on Insurance 

The LTV ratio also influences insurance requirements. For instance, mortgage lenders often require borrowers with high LTV ratios to purchase private mortgage insurance. Insurance protects the lender in case of default, adding an extra cost for the borrower.

Additional Considerations 

While LTV is important, other financial ratios like debt-to-income (DTI) ratio also play a crucial role in lending decisions. A DTI represents your borrowing risk because it’s the difference between your gross monthly income and your total outstanding debt. If you spend a lot of your income repaying installment loans, payday loans, and other types of debt, you may not qualify for additional loans.

Tips for Improving Your Loan-to-Value Ratio

You can definitely reduce your loan-to-value ratio on a home you currently own or are trying to purchase. Here are some strategies you can use: 

Increase Your Down Payment 

For most mortgages, you will need a minimum of 3% of a down payment on a home, which does not include all closing costs. Adding more to that payment can help lower your loan-to-value ratio. 

Make Increased Monthly Payments 

One easy way to lower your loan-to-value ratio is to make increased payments on your mortgage every month. The more money you pay, the more it will go towards the principal, and the sooner you will pay off your loan. 

Look at a 15-Year Mortgage 

When looking at mortgage options, you will see a few loan repayment options. The standard is 30, but you can go as little as 15 years on your mortgage. With a 15-year repayment option, you will have larger payments each month, but you will also repay your loan much quicker, lowering that loan-to-value ratio sooner. 

Lower Your Price Range for a Home Purchase

Mortgage companies will provide you with a home loan estimate after the pre-approval process. However, just because you qualify for a large mortgage, you don’t have to go for that maximum amount, especially if you don’t have a significant down payment.  

FAQs About Loan-to-Value Ratios

What factors should I consider when determining the loan amount for a mortgage loan?

Consider your financial stability, the current loan balance you can afford, and the potential for future income changes when looking for a mortgage. 

How is the appraised value of a property calculated for a mortgage loan?

The appraised value is determined by a professional appraiser who evaluates the property’s condition, location, and comparable sales in the area. This value is crucial in calculating your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.

Can a high loan-to-value (LTV) ratio affect my mortgage loan approval?

Yes, a high LTV ratio can impact loan approval. Lenders perceive it as a higher risk, which might lead to stricter loan terms or even denial of the loan. It’s essential to aim for a lower LTV to increase your chances of approval.

What are the implications of having a high LTV ratio on private mortgage insurance requirements?

If your LTV ratio is high, lenders might require PMI to protect themselves in case of default. This is especially common when the LTV exceeds 80%.

How do FHA loans use the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio in their lending process?

FHA loans are known for their more lenient LTV requirements, often allowing higher LTV ratios than conventional loans. This makes them a popular choice for borrowers with smaller down payments.

What is combined loan to value (CLTV), and how does it differ from LTV?

Combined loan to value (CLTV) considers the total of all loans on a property relative to its appraised value. For example, combined loan-to-value includes a home equity line or second mortgage, unlike LTV, which only considers the primary loan balance.

How can I manage my current loan balance to improve my LTV ratio?

Managing your current loan balance to improve your LTV ratio involves making regular payments, considering additional principal payments to lower the loan balance when possible, and avoiding taking on additional debt against your home.

Does the current appraised value of my home affect my ability to get a home equity line?

Yes, the current appraised value of your home significantly impacts your eligibility for a home equity line, as lenders use this value to determine your home’s equity and your borrowing capacity.

When is it necessary to require private mortgage insurance for a mortgage loan?

Insurance is typically required when your down payment is less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, resulting in an LTV ratio above 80%. It’s a lender’s safeguard against loan default.

How does a high LTV ratio impact insurance rates?

A higher LTV rate usually means higher insurance rates, as lenders view loans with less equity as higher risk. Reducing your LTV can help lower these insurance costs.

Can refinancing help lower my LTV ratio?

Refinancing can help lower your LTV ratio if it leads to a lower interest rate or shorter loan term, allowing you to build equity faster. However, it’s essential to consider refinancing costs and the current appraised value of your property.

What strategies can I use to avoid a high LTV ratio and the need for mortgage insurance?

To avoid a high LTV ratio, consider a larger down payment, choose a less expensive property, or pay down your mortgage faster. These strategies can help you stay below the 80% LTV threshold and avoid the need for insurance.

A Final Word From CreditNinja on Loan to Value Ratios

Now that you know how to calculate an LTV ratio, you can better understand how lenders determine approval and the type of loan offer you can obtain. 

CreditNinja aims to provide the necessary information you need to improve your finances. Check out the CreditNinja Dojo for answers to all kinds of financial questions, such as “How much money should I keep in my checking account?” and “How can I get a loan from the bank?”


  1. What is loan-to-value ratio? | USA Today
  2. Average used car loans are now much more than the vehicles are worth | Auto Blog
  3. What Is a Loan-to-Value Ratio? | FHA  
  4. What is a loan-to-value ratio? | CFPB
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