Also known as a variable-rate mortgage, an adjustable-rate mortgage is a home loan with an interest rate that fluctuates over time. ARMs feature an initial, fixed interest rate for a specific time period – usually 5, 7 or 10 years. After that, your interest rate may change every 6 months, depending on the market. That means your monthly mortgage payment could go up or down twice a year. Your rate won’t increase more than 5% of the original rate throughout the life of the loan, though.
Adjustable-rate mortgages are shown as two numbers with a slash in between. The first number shows how many years the interest rate is fixed. The number after the slash shows how many months the adjustment period is. For example, a 5/6 ARM offers a fixed rate for 5 years, then the rate adjusts every 6 months.
Conventional mortgages, or fixed-rate mortgages, keep the same interest rate over the life of the loan.
Adjustable-rate mortgages, on the other hand, start with a low fixed interest rate for 5, 7 or 10 years, and then adjust the rate periodically after that. The initial fixed interest rate on our ARMs is usually lower than the corresponding 30-year fixed interest rate
The interest rate is fixed on the 7/6 ARM for the first 7 years. Then the interest rate can adjust every 6 months for the remaining 23 years.
A 10/6 ARM offers a fixed interest rate for 10 years. Then the interest rate adjusts every 6 months for the remaining 20 years.
We’re not offering these right now, but we may again in the future.
A 5/6 ARM has a fixed interest rate for the first 5 years. Then the interest rate can adjust every 6 months for the remaining 25 years.
ARM interest rates are based on a combination of factors, including today’s mortgage rates, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) index and caps.
The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) measures the cost of borrowing cash overnight and is calculated by the New York Federal Reserve. We use the SOFR index’s 30-day average to help determine interest rates for our adjustable-rate mortgages.
Each adjustable-rate mortgage has a cap that limits how much the interest rate can change up or down at each adjustment date and over the life of the loan.
There are three caps:
These caps are shown as a series of three numbers with slashes in between. For example, 5/6 ARM caps are 2/1/5. The first number means that after 5 years of fixed-rate interest, the first adjustment is capped at 2%. Every adjustment after the initial cap can only go up or down 1%. The final number means the total interest over the life of the loan cannot go up or down more than 5%.
Our Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Caps
When a rate adjusts, here’s what we use to calculate the new payment:
Since each re-calculation uses the remaining term of the original 30-year loan, you’ll always remain on track to pay off your loan 30 years after the date you close, as long as you stay current with your payments.
To qualify for an ARM purchase or rate/term refinance on a primary residence, you’ll need:
Yes, you can refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage. When interest rates are low, refinancing an ARM can give you the stability of the same monthly payment for years to come. Refinancing could also help you consolidate debt or pay off your mortgage faster. Apply online or schedule a 1 on 1 with our Home Loan Experts to get started.
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