Slowly, ARMs are returning
Adjustable-rate mortgages became a dirty word after the collapse of the financial and real estate markets, but borrowers have started to put the stigma aside as they become more attracted to the near record-low rates on adjustable mortgages, says Rob Nunziata at FBC Mortgage in Orlando. Fla.
"In the last 60 days, we've seen an uptick in the number of borrowers who are opting to go with ARMs," Nunziata says. "Rates are extremely attractive."
Nunziata says that about six months ago, only 2 percent to 5 percent of the borrowers he dealt with showed an interest in the ARM product. "Today, it's closer to 15 percent," he says.
But ARMs are far from becoming as popular as they once were. In 2005, ARMs accounted for more than a third (34.9 percent) of mortgages originated. That share dropped to less than 1 percent in late 2008 when the mortgage market collapsed, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. It's now back to about 6 percent.
ARMs are not for everyone, Nunziata says. They can be a good option for borrowers who think they will sell their house before the fixed-rate period expires or know they will be able to afford the higher monthly payment when the rate resets.