With Mortgage Rates So Low, Getting a Floating Rate Mortgage Might Seem Crazy. Here’s Why I Did It Anyway

My mortgage payments are by far my largest monthly expense, so when I recently got the chance to cut them, I cut them as deeply as I could — even though it meant doing something I never thought I’d do: Forgoing the security of a fixed-rate mortgage for an adjustable one.

An ARM, also known as a “variable-rate mortgage,” offers a low introductory interest rate—typically for three, five, seven or 10 years—and when that period ends the rate turns into a floating rate for the remainder of the loan. Once rates adjust, mortgage payments for an ARM can double or even triple. With today’s mortgage rates at or near record lows, future rates may have only one way to go: up.

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A First for the Housing Market: Mortgage Rates Below 3%

It’s no secret mortgages are cheap right now. For some borrowers they’re hitting levels many experts might have thought impossible just a few months ago. Welcome to the world of the sub-3% mortgage.

The 30-year fixed-rate average sank last week to 3.15% with an average 0.8 percentage points paid, according to Freddie Mac. That’s the lowest level recorded since the mortgage giant began tracking mortgage rates in 1971. But 3.15% is just the average rate—some buyers and refinancers are qualifying for rates below 3%, something even mortgage pros are seeing for the first time.

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