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A lump sum payment made to the creditor by the borrower or by a third party to reduce the amount of some or all of the consumer's periodic payments to repay the indebtedness. In the context of project financing, refers to a one-time payment out of liquidated damages to reflect cash flow losses from sustained underperformance.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.


A prepayment on a loan, especially a mortgage, that reduces monthly payments thereafter. A buydown may temporarily reduce payments, for example, by reducing the loan's interest rate for a certain period. On the other hand, a permanent buydown reduces the interest rate by a lesser amount for the life of the loan. A buydown is often made by a third party, but this is not always the case.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


When you make an up-front cash payment to reduce your monthly payments on a mortgage loan, it's called a buydown.

In a temporary buydown, your payments during the buydown period are calculated at a lower interest rate than the actual rate on your loan, which makes the payments smaller.

For example, if you prepay $6,000, your rate might be reduced by a total of six percentage points, or one percent for each thousand dollars, spread over three years.

Instead of an 8% rate in the first year, it would be 5%. In the second year, it would be 6%, and in the third year 7%. On a $100,000 loan with a 30-year term, a reduction from 8% to 5% would reduce your monthly payments in the first year from about $734 to about $535.

The extra cash you prepaid would be used to make up the difference between the amounts due calculated at the lower rates and the actual cost of borrowing -- in this case about $200 a month in the first year. Then, in the fourth year, you would begin to pay at the actual loan rate and your payments would increase.

In a permanent buydown, which is less common, your rate might be reduced by about 0.25% for each thousand dollars, or point, you prepaid, but the reduction would last for the life of the loan.

You might choose to do a buydown if you had extra cash at the time you were ready to buy, but a smaller income than would normally allow you to qualify to buy the home you want.

In most cases, lenders require that your housing costs be no more than 28% of your income. You might be able to reach that level if your initial payments were less at the time of purchase. In other cases, a home builder who is having trouble selling new properties might offer buydowns through a local lender to encourage reluctant buyers to take advantage of lower payments in the first years they own their homes.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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* Buy-down to permanently reduce the interest rate to virtually zero percent
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