Adjustable Rate Mortgages Make a Comeback

By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mortgage where the interest rate begins with the number “3?”

More borrowers seem to think so, as more of them are opting for adjustable-rate mortgages, whose rates have become even more alluring compared with fixed-rate mortgages.

The rate on a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage — that is, a loan where the interest rate is fixed for the first five years and adjusts annually thereafter — is 3.23 percent on average, or about 1.35 percentage points less than a traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to HSH.com, which publishes mortgage and consumer loan information.

Lured in by the attractive rates, about 12 percent of the $325 billion in new mortgages made were adjustable-rate loans, known as ARMs, in the first quarter. That compares with 9 percent of new mortgages issued in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a newsletter that tracks the mortgage industry.

Read more about it at the NY Times