Understanding FHA Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Why do people take out an FHA adjustable loan?

Adjustable rate mortgage graphicAn FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a type of mortgage that offers borrowers an opportunity to lock in a fixed interest rate for a set period. After the period has ended, the interest rate on the ARM may adjust up or down according to a predetermined schedule.

The interest rate on an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage, often known as an ARM, is subject to change at set intervals during the loan's lifetime. An ARM typically has an initial interest rate lower than the fixed interest rate. Following the conclusion of this introductory period, the interest rate that is applied to the remaining balance will adjust by the market index.

How the FHA ARM Works

After the introductory period has ended, the interest rate that you are given will be calculated using an index and your lender's margin (which should be disclosed when you apply for the loan).

To arrive at the new interest rate, just add the margin to the index in the calculation. Your interest rate will fluctuate in tandem with the index figure that was used.

The Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT) index or the 1-year London Interbank Offered Rate are both acceptable market index statistics for the Federal Housing Administration to use (LIBOR).

Animated interest rate  The possibility of a significant shift in the interest rate might reduce the attractiveness of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). To protect consumers against interest rates that are unreasonably high (or low), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) implements two distinct kinds of limitations.

The FHA adjustable rate limits the amount that your interest rate can change over one year. Additionally, there is a life-of-the-loan cap, and what this does is limit the amount that can change over the entire loan term.

FHA's ARM Types

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers a few different adjustable-rate mortgage products that may cater to the requirements of a variety of borrowers.

It offers a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) for one year, in addition to four “hybrid” ARM options, each of which has an initial interest rate that is fixed for the first three, five, seven, or ten years. After that introductory time has passed, the interest rate will change yearly.

The Pros of an Adjustable Rate Mortgage

  1. House with a sold signYou can make the most of the inexpensive interest rates.
  2. If you get a lower interest rate for the first term of the loan, you can likely purchase a property that costs more than the one you would qualify for if the interest rate were higher.
  3. This lower interest rate can lower your monthly payment, which would enable you to save more money for later when the interest rate begins to vary and become more unpredictable.
  4. If you have a credit score of at least 580, you may be eligible for an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), which requires a down payment of as little as 3. 5 percent of the loan's total value.
  5. You can be eligible even if you have a credit score that is less than perfect. However, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will guarantee loans with a minimum credit score of 500 if the individual lender sets their own rules for minimum credit scores. On the other hand, this can imply that you need to deposit ten percent of the whole price.
  6. Even if this is your first time purchasing a property, you may still be eligible for this program. An FHA adjustable-rate mortgage does not need you to have past home-buying experience or experience at all to qualify.

    Typically, a first-time homeowner with a low to moderate income is the ideal candidate for an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage loan. This loan can be the perfect option for first-time buyers like you who don't intend to remain in the house for an extended period, but yet want to get a head start on creating equity.
  7. You will not be subject to unreasonably high price hikes. An FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loan's annual percentage rate rise is limited to no more than one percent, even if the interest rate will go up once the first fixed-rate term is through. In addition, for the whole duration of the mortgage loan, it cannot go up by more than five percent.

The Cons of an Adjustable Rate Mortgage

  1. You have the option of making a larger payment each month. Because the rate would be subject to change after the end of the fixed-rate term, it is possible that it could rise. This means that your monthly payment would also increase, making the loan unaffordable for you.
  2. You are required to make payments toward your mortgage insurance. If you get an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage loan, you'll have to pay an insurance premium of 1. 75 percent of the loan amount at settlement.

    During the life of the loan, you will be responsible for paying a mortgage insurance fee every month (MIP). If you put less than 10 percent of the total loan amount down, you'll have to pay mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) for the full duration of the loan; but, if you put down at least 10 percent, you won't have to pay MIP after the 11th year of the loan's term.
  3. It's possible that you won't be approved for the amount of money you require. Because the loan limits for an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage are often lower than those for conventional mortgages. If the FHA loan limit is insufficient to pay the cost of the house, you will not be able to go through with the purchase.

You don’t plan to keep the home very long

Take advantage of the initial low rate offered by an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) if you are certain that you will be relocating within the next several years. If you believe that you will be moving within the next few years, an adjustable-rate mortgage might work to your advantage if you sell the property before the interest rate begins to change.

You want to pay off your mortgage early

Since you will have a lower fixed rate at the beginning of the term of your FHA adjustable-rate mortgage loan, you will have the ability to pay additional amounts toward your principal. This will not only enable you to pay off your mortgage more quickly, but it will also save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.

You can pay for the loan even if the rate increases

You must have a solid understanding of the total cost of your FHA adjustable-rate mortgage throughout the loan's term. Inquire with your lender about the maximum amount that may be paid each month toward your loan. An FHA adjustable-rate mortgage might be the best option for you if you can manage the monthly payments.

You could buy a home while rebuilding your credit

If you have a lower credit score but are still able to qualify for an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), you may be able to purchase a home right away rather than delaying your purchase while you work to improve your credit.

Should you get an FHA ARM loan?

Because not every borrower is a good candidate for an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), it is essential to carefully consider your current and future financial circumstances before deciding whether or not an ARM is the most suitable choice for you. You must also do an analysis of the terms and expenses associated with an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loan to ensure that you have a complete comprehension of these aspects.

FHA Loan Requirements

  • Primary residences only
  • A credit score higher than 580
  • No bankruptcies in the last 2 years and no foreclosures in the last 3 years, with re-established good credit
  • A debt-to-income ratio under 43%

Rotating question markWhat is an FHA 5/1 ARM?

The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is arguably the most popular FHA adjustable-rate mortgage.

A sort of hybrid mortgage known as an FHA 5/1 ARM maintains fixed interest rates for the first five years of the loan's term but then adjusts those rates periodically based on fluctuations in the market interest rate.

An FHA 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage, in contrast to a standard ARM, is guaranteed by the government, which might provide you with significant advantages.

How Fast Can My Interest Rate Increase on an FHA 5/1 ARM?

Your interest rate on an FHA 5/1 ARM may be changed once per year after the completion of the first five-year term with a fixed interest rate. They may decrease it if you have an incredible amount of luck, but in other circumstances, it may be increased. But by what percentage is it possible for your rate to go up throughout each of those adjustments?

The goal of the FHA's adjustable-rate mortgage program is to assist low- and middle-income families in purchasing (and maintaining) their first home. To accomplish this goal, the FHA has implemented several safeguards that are intended to prevent your mortgage payments from skyrocketing.

FHA 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages provide the option of having an annual maximum rise in interest rates of no more than one percent. Moreover, regardless of the kind of loan you choose, there is a cap that prevents you from paying more than a five percent premium above your original interest rate over the course of the whole loan.


In conclusion, FHA mortgages with adjustable rates can be a great option for some borrowers, but it's important to understand all of the risks and features involved before deciding if this type of loan is right for you.

If you're thinking about an FHA adjustable rate mortgage, be sure to consult with a qualified lender or financial advisor to find out more about your specific situation and what the best option may be for you.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (Arm)
Section B. Arms

Recommended Reading

  1. Inspection Requirements For FHA Loans
  2. FHA Loan Limits: How Much Can You Borrow?
  3. How does escrow work for a mortgage?