The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is a financial term used by lenders to express the ratio of a loan to the value of an asset purchased.
In Real estate, the term is commonly used by banks and building societies to represent the ratio of the first mortgage line as a percentage of the total appraised value of real property. For instance, if someone borrows $130,000 to purchase a house worth $150,000, the LTV ratio is $130,000 to $150,000 or $130,000/$150,000, or 87%. The remaining 13% represent the lender’s haircut, adding up to 100% and being covered from the borrower’s equity. The higher the LTV ratio, the riskier the loan is for a lender.
The valuation of a property is typically determined by an appraiser, but a better measure is an arms-length transaction between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Typically, banks will utilize the lesser of the appraised value and purchase price if the purchase is “recent” (within 1–2 years).