April 11th, 2017 4:14 PM by Nour Ailan
The number of homebuyers considering a riskier mortgage — a kind of loan that became notorious during the housing boom and crash — has doubled since the presidential election.
Last week, 9 percent of total home loan applications were for adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs. That’s twice the level seen in the first week of November 2016. It’s also the highest level since October 2014, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
“We’ve had more inquiries about ARMs, hesitantly, but the questions are there,” says Pava Leyrer, chief operating officer of Northern Mortgage Services. “It’s just not about the rate. Housing is so extremely tight with bidding wars that people feel pressured to raise their price and need a lower rate, but in many cases, it’s not enough to make a difference.”
The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was at 4.46 percent last week, while the 30-year fixed-rate loan backed by the FHA — popular among first-time homebuyers — increased to 4.33 percent from 4.29 percent the week before.
By contrast, the average rate for a 5/1 ARM — fixed rate for five years and variable after that — fell to 3.41 percent from 3.45 percent.
The difference can really add up. The monthly payment for a 30-year loan at the current rate on a $180,000 mortgage is $807 (not including taxes and insurance). For a 5/1 ARM at the current rate, it’s $710 (without taxes or insurance). However, that payment can adjust either up or down after five years, depending on the interest rates at the time.
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