What is a basis point in mortgage?

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A basis point is a common term used in the world of finance and investments, including the mortgage industry. It is a unit of measurement that represents one-hundredth of a percentage point. In the context of mortgages, a basis point is used to measure changes in interest rates and mortgage rates. Understanding what a basis point is and how it affects mortgage rates is essential for borrowers and investors alike.

What is a Basis Point?

A basis point, often abbreviated as “bps,” is a unit of measurement used to describe small changes in interest rates or yields. It is equivalent to one-hundredth of a percentage point, or 0.01%. For example, if an interest rate increases by 25 basis points, it means it has risen by 0.25%.

In the mortgage industry, basis points are commonly used to measure changes in mortgage rates. Mortgage rates can fluctuate based on various factors, including economic conditions, inflation, and the overall demand for mortgages. Lenders and borrowers closely monitor these changes to make informed decisions.

How Basis Points Affect Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are influenced by numerous factors, including the cost of borrowing money for lenders and the overall state of the economy. When interest rates rise, mortgage rates tend to increase as well. Conversely, when interest rates fall, mortgage rates often follow suit.

Basis points play a crucial role in determining mortgage rates. For example, if the Federal Reserve decides to increase interest rates by 50 basis points, it means that borrowing costs for lenders have gone up. As a result, lenders may pass on these increased costs to borrowers in the form of higher mortgage rates.

Similarly, if the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates by 25 basis points, it can lead to lower borrowing costs for lenders. This reduction in costs may translate into lower mortgage rates for borrowers. Therefore, understanding basis points is essential for borrowers to gauge potential changes in mortgage rates and plan their finances accordingly.

Implications for Borrowers

For borrowers, even small changes in mortgage rates can have a significant impact on their monthly mortgage payments and the overall cost of homeownership. When mortgage rates increase, it can make buying a home more expensive or reduce the affordability of refinancing an existing mortgage. On the other hand, when mortgage rates decrease, it can create opportunities for homeowners to save money by refinancing their mortgages or make homeownership more affordable for prospective buyers.

Borrowers should closely monitor changes in mortgage rates, paying particular attention to basis point movements. By staying informed about interest rate trends and consulting with mortgage professionals, borrowers can make informed decisions about when to lock in a mortgage rate or explore refinancing options.


Understanding basis points is crucial for anyone involved in the mortgage industry, whether as a borrower or investor. Basis points represent small changes in interest rates and mortgage rates, and they play a significant role in determining the cost of borrowing and the affordability of homeownership. By keeping an eye on basis point movements and staying informed about interest rate trends, borrowers can make informed decisions about their mortgages.


– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com/terms/b/basispoint.asp
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-basis-point-3305920
– Bankrate: www.bankrate.com/glossary/b/basis-point/