An adjustable rate mortgage (commonly known as an ARM), also known as a variable rate mortgage or floating rate mortgage is a mortgage loan where the interest rate on the note is periodically adjusted based on an index. This is done to ensure a constant and steady margin for the lender, whose own cost of funding will usually be related to an index. This can be extremely attractive to the individual that is planning on selling the home in short period of time or betting the mortgage rates will go down. People with bad credit looking for a mortgage loan for people with bad credit might find it easier to qualify for an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. The article explores and provides the understanding of this type of mortgage.
Payments made by the borrower may and often do change over time with the changing interest rate (alternatively, the term of the loan may also change). The initial interest rate is usually lower than that offered with a fixed-rate mortgage (also known as a exciter or dangler rate). This means that the monthly repayment amount will also be lower. However, your monthly payment may go up or down at intervals specified in the ARM product disclosure, depending on the current interest rate. This is not to be confused with the graduated payment mortgage, which offers changing payment amounts but a fixed interest rate. Other forms of mortgage loan include interest only mortgage, fixed rate mortgage, negative amortization mortgage, and balloon payment mortgage. Adjustable rates transfer part of the interest rate risk from the lender to the borrower. They can be used where unpredictable interest rates make fixed rate loans difficult to obtain. The borrower benefits if the interest rate falls and loses out if interest rates rise. Adjustable rate mortgages are characterized by their index and limitations on charges (caps). In many countries, adjustable rate mortgages are the norm, and in such places, may simply be referred to as mortgages.
All adjustable rate mortgages have an adjusting interest rate tied to an index of some sort. Below is a list of five common indices utilized in the United States:
(1) 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI)
(2) London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)
(3) 12-month Treasury Average Index (MTA)
(4) Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT)
(5) National Average Contract Mortgage Rate Bank Bill Swap Rate (BBSW)
In some countries, banks or similar financial institutions are the primary originators of mortgages. For banks that are funded from customer deposits, the customer deposits will typically have much shorter terms than residential mortgages. If a bank were to offer large volumes of mortgages at fixed rates but to derive most of its funding from deposits (or other short-term sources of funds), the bank would have an asset-liability mismatch: in this case, it would be running the risk that the interest income from its mortgage portfolio would be less than it needed to pay its depositors.
In the United States, some argue that the savings and loan crisis was in part caused by this problem, that the savings and loans companies had short-term deposits and long-term, fixed rate mortgages, and were caught when Paul Volcker raised interest rates in the early 1980s. To avoid this risk, many mortgage originators will sell or securitize their mortgages. Banking regulators pay close attention to asset-liability mismatches to avoid such problems, and place tight restrictions on the amount of long-term fixed-rate mortgages that banks may hold (in relation to their other assets). In this perspective, banks and other financial institutions offer adjustable rate mortgages because it reduces risk and matches their sources of funding.
For the borrower, adjustable rate mortgages may be less expensive, but at the price of higher risk borne by the borrower. In 'most' situations, short-term borrowing is less expensive than long-term borrowing, due to the slope of the yield curve. If rates are expected to rise, however, or the yield curve is sloped down (long-term money is less expensive than short-term money) borrowers may end up paying more over the life of the mortgage loan.
Understanding the Adjustable Rate mortgage can allow a borrower to deliver lower payments and help qualify for people with bad credit looking to refinance mortgages with bad credit loans.
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