As 30-year fixed rates increase, ARM loans grow more popular because they often offer a lower initial rate that’s fixed for three, five or seven years. Many lenders offer adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) with lower monthly payments for a set number of years, which can help borrowers save money. However, once the “teaser” initial rate period expires, your monthly payment could go up based on the terms of the program you chose.
Highlights of ARM loans include:
- A lower initial rate than comparable 30-year fixed-rate mortgages
- A yearly cap on how much the rate can increase once the teaser rate period expires
- A lifetime cap on how much the rate can rise
Example: How does a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage compare to an ARM loan?
Let’s say you want to compare potential monthly payments on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage versus a 5/1 ARM that’s used to buy a $350,000 home with a $50,000 down payment.
→ As you can see in the table, a 5/1 ARM you could lower your monthly payments by $176 for the first five years.
For most people, an ARM only makes sense if you have short-term savings needs and plan to sell or refinance your home before the adjustable-rate period kicks in.
If you’d like to do further calculations comparing loans with different rates, use the calculator below: