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What’s A 5 1 Arm Mortgage

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What Are The Different Types Of Arm Loans

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There are many times of ARM loans to choose from. Here are the main ones.

  • Hybrid: Offers a fixed rate for a preset time period, then becomes an adjustable rate through the end of the loan. The most common term is 5/1 fixed for five years, then the rate changes once per year.
  • Interest-only loans: For a set period of time, the borrower pays only the monthly interest on the loan and not the principal. After this period, the mortgage is amortized and your payments will increase so the loan is paid off by the end of the term.
  • Option ARMs: At the beginning of the loan, youre given four different payment options: an agreed monthly payment, an interest-only payment, a 15-year amortizing payment, and a 30-year amortizing payment. These tend to be riskier, because your payment may not cover enough to stay on track with your payoff schedule.

Is A 5/1 Arm Loan Right For You

Assuming market conditions with a decent spread between fixed and adjustable rates, it can make sense to get an adjustable rate mortgage, particularly if you know you plan to be out of the house by the time the rate would adjust. This is because the upfront interest rates can be lower than anything you would get for a fixed rate under normal circumstances.

If market conditions change and theres more of a difference between adjustable rates and fixed-rate mortgages, the lower rate on an ARM can help provide you financial flexibility. In addition, as we saw earlier, you can pay down quite a bit of principal by taking the payment savings in the initial years and putting it back toward the balance.

If you plan on being in your house for a long time, its probably best to take a look at a fixed-rate mortgage. This will provide you with long-term payment certainty.

What Is An Adjustable

An adjustable-rate mortgage is a home loan product that comes with an interest rate that fluctuates over time — rather than a fixed rate. When you take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you’re guaranteed to keep the same interest rate on your loan for 30 years.

With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the initial rate you lock in will only be guaranteed for a preset period of time. Once that fixed-rate period expires, the interest rate on your loan will adjust once annually — either up or down.

The first number in an adjustable-rate mortgage is the number of years your initial rate is set for . And the second number is how often your rate will adjust after that .

If you take out a mortgage with an adjustable rate, you’ll usually get 30 years to pay it off. But during that time, your monthly payment could change based on how your loan’s interest rate fluctuates.

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How A 5/1 Mortgage Loan Works

A 5/1 mortgage loan is generally a good choice in two scenarios. Youll save big by getting a 5/1 loan rather than a 30-year fixed mortgage if you dont plan to stay in the home very long. If you’re fairly sure that a career change or a move is in the cards before your five-year fixed period is up, for example, this might be the right option for you.

The initial interest rate on these 5/1 mortgage loans is typically pretty favorable.

You might also want to consider a 5/1 ARM if you know that you can comfortably afford a little unpredictability when the five-year term expires. You can enjoy a relatively low interest rate for the first five years. If your income is sufficient to cover ebbs and flows in your monthly payment after this timeor to allow you to pay the fees and costs of refinancinga 5/1 ARM could be a good choice.

These hybrid loans generally arent a good move if youre tight on cash and need to rely on having a consistent, reliable payment. You also likely shouldn’t get one if you plan to put down serious roots and remain in your home for a long stretch of years.

Some 5/1 ARMs do come with rate caps, so your rate can never increase beyond a certain threshold. These caps help protect you from sky-high payment jumps when your five-year fixed-rate period expires. Otherwise, your monthly interest payments could double or even triple when the interest rate becomes variable.

How To Find The Best 5

FHA Loan Facts for First

In todays lending environment, borrowers are presented with many products and choices when it comes to getting a mortgage. While a fixed rate mortgage is still the most popular option for most individuals, those who are more risk-tolerant may enjoy the benefits of obtaining a 5-year ARM.

Its always important to understand your financial strengths and weaknesses, how much you can afford and what your short-and long-term homeownership goals are. Once you have that sorted, talk to a trusted lender who can guide you through the process and help you find the best 5-year mortgage rates available today.


  • *Some lenders will continue to issue adjustable rate mortgages on an annual basis using market data collected from the CMT T-Bill index.
  • **Sample rates and scenarios provided for illustration purposes only and are not intended to provide mortgage or other financial advice specific to the circumstances of any individual and should not be relied upon in that regard. Guaranteed Rate, Inc. cannot predict where rates will be in the future.To understand the terms of repayment and review representative examples please review the information here.

General Disclosures

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Disadvantages Of An Adjustable

Due to the adjustable rate nature of an ARM, there are some possible disadvantages to consider.

  • Prepayment penalties: Often, ARMs impose penalties should you sell or refinance the loan within the first 5 years of getting your mortgage. For this reason, its important to either find an ARM without these penalties or plan to stick with your mortgage beyond the penalty period.
  • Payment increases: Once you get beyond the fixed-rate period of your ARM, the rate of interest can rapidly and substantially increase, thus increasing your monthly payments. In some situations, making the payment can become more difficult.
  • Complicated: The fact is that ARMs have a host of complexities that can be hard to understand, which can make things difficult should you not understand them fully. This includes structures, fees and other factors.

Pros And Cons Of An Arm

With a 5/1 ARM, you know exactly what your interest rate will be for the first 5 years. After that, your interest rate, and therefore your monthly payment, could go up or down.

Given weve been in a declining or low interest rate environment for over 40 years, the chances are good that your payment wont go up by much, if at all once the 5-year fixed period is up.

Not only may interest rates stay the same five years from now, your principal balance will have absolutely declined by at least 10%. With a lower principal balance to pay off upon interest rate adjustment, even if interest rates increased a lot, it would be offset by the lower balance.

5/1 ARM Example

Lets say you are purchasing a $500,000 house and putting down 20 percent. You could borrow $400,000 at a 4.5 percent interest rate at a monthly payment of $2,027.

Alternatively, you could take out a 5/1 ARM for the $400,000 loan and borrow at a 3.5 percent interest rate. Your payment would go down to $1,796 a month, thereby improving your cash flow by $231 a month.

After five years when its time for your ARM to adjust, your principal amount will decline to roughly $360,000. Even if your mortgage rate adjusts to 4 percent from 3.5 percent, youre still paying roughly the same amount in monthly mortgage payments.

Meanwhile, if you had taken out a 30-year fixed loan at 4.5%, youd be losing compared to the ARM holder even on year six when the ARM holders rate adjusts.

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How A Hybrid Adjustable

The 5/1 hybrid ARM may be the most popular type of adjustable-rate mortgage, but its not the only option. There are 3/1, 7/1, and 10/1 ARMs as well. These loans offer an introductory fixed rate for three, seven, or 10 years, respectively, after which they adjust annually.

Also known as a five-year fixed-period ARM or a five-year ARM, this mortgage features an interest rate that adjusts according to an index plus a margin. Hybrid ARMs are very popular with consumers, as they may feature an initial interest rate significantly lower than a traditional fixed-rate mortgage. Most lenders offer at least one version of such hybrid ARMs of these loans, the 5/1 hybrid ARM is especially popular.

Other ARM structures exist, such as the 5/5 and 5/6 ARMs, which also feature a five-year introductory period followed by a rate adjustment every five years or every six months, respectively. Notably, 15/15 ARMs adjust once after 15 years and then remain fixed for the remainder of the loan. Less common are 2/28 and 3/27 ARMs. With the former, the fixed interest rate applies for only the first two years, followed by 28 years of adjustable rates with the latter, the fixed rate is for three years, with adjustments in each of the following 27 years. Some of these loans adjust every six months rather than annually.

Hybrid ARMs have a fixed interest rate for a set period of years, followed by an extended period during which rates are adjustable.

Why Take An Adjustable Rate Mortgage

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You might wonder why anyone would be crazy enough to take a mortgage that they have no idea what the interest rate may be. While it seems crazy, there are reasons. Most notably is the lower introductory rate youll get. Most ARMs come with a lower than fixed rate interest rate at first. In this case, this means you get the lower interest rate for 5 years. That could add up to significant savings.

In exchange for that benefit, though, you take the risk of getting a higher interest rate when it adjusts. This could give you higher monthly mortgage payments for which you need to be prepared to pay. You can watch the index that your loan is tied to go get an idea of what your rate might do, but until that actual adjustment date, you dont know what it will be for sure.

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What Is A 5/1 Arm Mortgage

5/1 ARM

How a 5/1 ARM Mortgage Works

The term 5/1 ARM means that you will get five years of a fixed interest rate, followed by one-year increments of adjustable rates. This means that for the first five years of the mortgage, you are going to have the same interest rate and the same monthly mortgage payment. After that, each year, your interest rate is going to change, which will also change your monthly mortgage payment. For the next 12 months, you will have the same mortgage payment. Then, at the end of that year, your interest rate is going to change again as well as your payment. This process might go on for the entire length of the loan, or it could stop after a certain number of years.

How the Interest Rate Changes

In order to determine what your new interest rate is, your lender is going to look at a financial index. A financial index is a group of securities designed to give an indication of what the market as a whole is doing. For example, your loan interest rate might be tied to the one-year Treasury rate. Your lender is going to look at the one-year Treasury rate at the end of the year and determine whether it went up or down over the previous 12 months. At that point, your interest rate is going to change at the same rate that the Treasury index changed.

Interest Rate Caps

Who Can Benefit

The Benefits Of The 5/1 Arm

While the 5/1 ARM may sound risky, it definitely has its benefits, they include:

  • More purchasing power A lower interest rate could help you be able to afford a higher mortgage amount. This is important if your debt ratio is close to the maximum allowed for the program. The lower rate can help you stay within the parameters and get approved.
  • Save money The lower introductory rate can help you save money on interest during the first five years. If you are still in the home after that, the rate will adjust, but the savings on the lower initial rate helps you save on the total interest paid over the life of the loan.
  • Big savings if you move If you know your home purchase is for the short-term, you can take advantage of the savings of the lower interest rate. If you sell before the rate adjusts, you come out ahead of the deal, making a greater return on your investment when you sell.

The 5/1 ARM should be entered with caution, though. It is a great loan program, but only when you understand the full ramifications of it. Make sure you know the full payment and how it will affect your finances. Once you are sure you can afford it, take advantage of the lower interest rate. If things go your way, you might even be able to refinance out of the adjustable rate before the rate adjusts.

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Lower Rates Help You Build Equity Faster

The obvious advantage of an adjustable-rate mortgage is that they carry lower interest rates during the fixed period of the loan. At the time of writing, the lowest rate advertised on a major mortgage site for a 5/1 ARM was about 3.2% compared to a rate of 3.9% for a 30-year fixed loan.

While the difference amounts to a mere 0.70 percentage points, it can make a big difference in your payment. The 30-year fixed mortgage carries a monthly payment of $943 per month, while the ARM carries a payment of about $865.

The smart thing to do might be to take out a 5/1 ARM but make monthly payments as if it were a 30-year fixed mortgage. By the end of the 5-year fixed period, the borrower will have made a much larger dent in their balance than the borrower who uses a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Heres the math based on a $200,000 mortgage at current mortgage rates.




After five years of equally sized payments, the buyer who used the 5/1 ARM instead of a 30-year mortgage would be more than $7,200 closer to paying off the home in full.

Having more home equity is a powerful buffer should interest rates rise. If, at the end of five years, your rate rises by more than 1 percentage point , your monthly payment will simply match that of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Of course, the $7,200 in additional home equity you built up is yours to keep.

Different Types Of Adjustable

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There are several different types of adjustable-rate mortgages, and they are often represented numerically . The first number indicates how long your fixed-rate period will last. The second number indicates how often the rate will change. Some of the most common ARM loans include:

  • 5/1 ARM: A 5/1 ARM loan has a fixed rate of interest for the first 5 years of the loan. After that, the interest rate will adjust annually over the remaining 25 years.
  • 10/1 ARM: A 10/1 ARM loan has a fixed rate of interest for the first 10 years of the loan. After that, the interest rate will adjust annually over the remaining 20 years. At this time, Rocket Mortgage® doesn’t offer 10/1 ARMs.
  • 5/6 ARM: A 5/6 ARM loan has a fixed interest rate for the first 5 years of the loan. After that, the rate adjusts every 6 months over the remaining 25 years.
  • 7/6 ARM: A 7/6 ARM loan has a fixed rate of interest for the first 7 years of the loan. After that, the interest rate will adjust once every 6 months over the remaining 23 years.
  • 10/6 ARM: A 10/6 ARM loan has a fixed rate of interest for the first 10 years of the loan. After that, the interest rate will adjust once every 6 months over the remaining 20 years.

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/1 Arm Rates Versus 15

Typically, 5/1 ARM rates are quite a bit lower than 30-year fixed rates. Theyre usually lower than 15-year fixed rates too, but by a smaller margin.

According to our lender network, todays 5/1 ARM rates and 15-year fixed mortgage rates start at*:

Conventional 5/1 ARM
Conventional 15-Year Fixed 2.625%

Remember, your rate can be higher or lower than average rates based on your credit, debts, income, down payment, and other factors.

When deciding between 5/1 ARM rates and 15-year fixed rates, you also need to consider factors like the overall interest rate market and how long you plan to stay in your new home.

Heres how to decide which loan program is best for you.

*Sample rates assume a credit score of 740 and a down payment of 30 percent. See our rate assumptions here.

In this article

What Is A 5/1 Arm

A 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage is anadjustable-rate mortgage with an interest rate that is initially fixed for five years then adjusts each year. The 5 refers to the number of initial years with a fixed rate, and the 1 refers to how often the rate adjusts after the initial period.

The initial fixed interest rate is typically at a low introductory level. After the initial fixed period, the new, adjustable rate, which changes annually, is tied to an interest rate index that moves based on a variety of economic and financial market factors. After the introductory period, your interest rate will reset to the indexed rate and then go up if the index rises, and drop if it falls. If you dont refinance, youd pay off the loan in 30 years.

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