Zero-Coupon Mortgage Definition

What Is a Zero-Coupon Mortgage?

A zero-coupon mortgage is a long-term industrial mortgage that defers all funds of principal and curiosity till the maturity of the mortgage. The mortgage’s structuring is as an accrual be aware, that means curiosity due rolls into the excellent quantity borrowed. At maturity, the borrower both pays off the be aware or floats one other mortgage on the present rates of interest.

Key Takeaways

  • Zero-coupon mortgages are long-term industrial mortgages that defer all funds of principal and curiosity till maturity.
  • Curiosity due rolls into the excellent quantity borrowed, which should be paid off on the expiry date or refinanced at prevailing rates of interest.
  • Business initiatives could use zero-coupon mortgages when the money flows wanted to repay the debt aren’t out there till the mission nears completion.
  • Lenders normally solely provide zero-coupon mortgages to established industrial debtors which have clear credit score information.
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How a Zero-Coupon Mortgage Works

Zero-coupon mortgages resemble zero-coupon bonds. The coupon, the annual rate of interest paid on the mortgage, is zero till the expiration date when it should all be paid again in a single hit, along with the total quantity borrowed.

Business initiatives use zero-coupon mortgages when money flows to service the debt are unlikely to be out there till the mission nears completion. An instance of this might be a sports activities stadium. On this case, no revenues are generated till the construction is full and capable of host occasions.

As a result of complete curiosity plus principal compensation is simply acquired by the lender when the mortgage matures, the credit score threat is considerably increased than with a standard mortgage. In consequence, lenders usually solely provide this type of financing to established industrial debtors with clear credit score information. Additionally they are likely to cost a better rate of interest on zero-coupon mortgages to compensate for the dearth of fast return.

With a zero-coupon mortgage, a borrower can finance a industrial mission with smaller money stream, on the expectation that appreciation of the property worth over the lifetime of the mortgage is ample to pay it off.

Instance of a Zero-Coupon Mortgage 

To illustrate ABC Corp. takes out a $400,000 zero-coupon mortgage due for compensation 20 years from now. Over the course of the following twenty years, ABC returns nothing to the lender. Not like standard mortgages, the corporate isn’t required to right away begin regularly paying again the principal, in addition to curiosity for the privilege of taking out a mortgage.

That each one modifications when its 20 years are up. Abruptly ABC should return the $400,000 it borrowed suddenly, along with the compounded curiosity on the mortgage, or refinance at prevailing rates of interest. Failure to take action will lead it to lose the property and drive it handy over the keys to the lender.


The 12 months Kansas-based Franklin Financial savings Affiliation offered the primary subject of zero-coupon bonds backed by mortgages.

Particular Concerns

Investing in Zero-Coupon Mortgage Notes

Traders have the chance to get in on the motion and generate income from zero-coupon mortgages and bonds. These investments are well-liked amongst sure buyers, partly on account of their availability in particular actual property markets and in addition as a result of zero-coupon bonds promote at a reduction from the face worth of the be aware. 

Traders is not going to obtain common curiosity funds. Nevertheless, the borrower will add the curiosity quantity to the principal quantity, which will get returned to the collectors at maturity. Curiosity will compound semiannually, and because the major worth rises, it is going to create increased curiosity funds, which roll again into the entire principal sum.

As a result of they pay no coupons and solely ship cash at maturity, zero-coupon mortgage costs could be very risky. They’re additionally topic to annual earnings tax funds, though the earnings is attributed and never repeatedly acquired by buyers. An exception could be if the funding settlement makes no promise to pay buyers a particular return, during which case there could be no present taxable yearly earnings. 

One other related sort of funding is operated primarily for Particular person Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and different entities the place current-year taxation is just not a consideration.