“IN the years since the financial crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, with their low initial interest rates that changed over time, have been considered riskier than fixed-rate loans and shunned by most buyers. But these days more people are being persuaded to give the loans a try.”However, the mortgage seems to have learned one lesson of the mortgage melt down.
“This time around, lenders are rolling out more conservative ARM products — without the gimmicky extra-low “teaser” rates that adjust every six months, or the “pick-a-pay” and “option” features that allow borrowers to pay less than the monthly interest, only to be hit with a huge bill down the road.”
“Those ARMs were hallmarks of the subprime mortgage boom that fueled the soaring rate of mortgage defaults and home foreclosures nationwide.”Lenders ranging from Equity Now in New York to Bank of America are increasing the number of ARM transactions.
“Mortgage brokers and lenders say the loans most in demand are the “5/1” and “7/1,” in which the initial interest rate is fixed for the first five or seven years — after which many homeowners typically think about selling or refinancing anyway — then adjusted annually at a capped rate toward a maximum level.”While many have railed against the risk inherent in changes of interest rates over time, I believe history reveals that ARMs were safe due to caps on increase amounts at each step and over the lifetime of the loan. For a homeowner who plans on selling within a few years, the ARM may give her a nice discount in rate.
Starting rates are usually one to one and a half percentage points below those of 30-year fixed-rate loans.
“But one catch is that getting an ARM may now be harder.
“Last summer Fannie Mae, the government buyer of home loans, said lenders must qualify borrowers on either the initial rate plus two percentage points, or on the full index rate to which the initial rate is tied, whichever is greater.”While ARMs may be attractive to some, it’s doubtful that the number of ARM transactions will approach the 1994 high of about 70 percent of all home purchases.
Read the full report More Borrowers Are Opting for Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
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