April 8, 2015
MainStreet.com quoted me in A Call to ARMs As Homeowners Opt for Lower Interest Rates. It opens,
Some homeowners are choosing adjustable rate mortgages instead of the traditional 30-year mortgages to take advantage of lower interest rates for several years.
The biggest benefit of an ARM is that they have lower interest rates than the more common 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Many ARMs are called a 5/1 or 7/1, which means that they are fixed at the introductory interest rate for five or seven years and then readjust every year after that, said David Reiss, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School. The new rate is based on an index, perhaps LIBOR, as well as a margin on top of that index.
The main disadvantage is that the rate is not fixed for as long as the interest rate of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, but younger homeowners may not consider that a negative factor.
Younger Owners Should Consider ARMs
While many homeowners gravitate toward a 30-year mortgage, younger owners “should seriously consider getting an ARM if they think that they might move sooner rather than later,” he said. If you are single and buying a one-bedroom condo, it is likely you could enter into a long-term relationship and have kids.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 3.50% as of April 7 while a 5/1 ARM is 2.83% as of April 7, according to Bankrate’s national survey of large lenders.
While ARMs expose the borrower to rising interest rates, they typically come with some protection. Interest rates often cannot rise more than a certain amount from year to year, and there is also typically a cap in the increase of interest rates over the life of the loan, said Reiss. During the height of the housing boom, lenders were originating 1/1 ARMs that reset after the first year, but now they reset frequently after the fifth and seventh year.
An ARM might have a two-point cap for one-year increases; that means, an introductory rate of 4% could only increase to 6% tops in the sixth year of a 5/1 ARM, Reiss said. That ARM might have a six-point cap over the life of the loan, which means a 4% introductory rate can go to no higher than 10% over the life of the loan.| Permalink