Homebuyers Pass on Adjustable Rates
(New York Times) — IN the years since the financial crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, with their low initial interest rates that changed over time, have been considered riskier than fixed-rate loans and shunned by most buyers. But these days more people are being persuaded to give the loans a try. This time around, lenders are rolling out more conservative ARM products — without the gimmicky extra-low “teaser” rates that adjust every six months, or the “pick-a-pay” and “option” features that allow borrowers to pay less than the monthly interest, only to be hit with a huge bill down the road. Those ARMs were hallmarks of the subprime mortgage boom that fueled the soaring rate of mortgage defaults and home foreclosures nationwide. “An adjustable now is basically a prime product,” said Michael Moskowitz, the president of Equity Now, a lender in New York. “There’s definitely a comeback in their popularity.” Bank of America, for example, had nearly twice as many ARM transactions last month as it did a year ago, according to Terry H. Francisco, a spokesman, and ARMs now account for 10 percent of all its home loans.