A 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (5/1 arm) is an adjustable-rate mortgage (arm) with an interest rate that is initially fixed for five years then adjusts each year. The "5" refers to the number.
As an example, a 5/1 arm means that the initial interest rate applies for five years (or 60 months, in terms of payments), after which the interest rate is adjusted annually. (adjustments for escrow accounts, however, do not follow the 5/1 schedule; these are done annually.) Fully Indexed Rate
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When you apply for a mortgage, there are two basic varieties to choose from: fixed-rate or adjustable-rate. By far the most common mortgage product in the United States is the 30-year fixed-rate, and the most common adjustable-rate variety is the 5/1 ARM.
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For instance, a 5/1 ARM has a fixed rate for five years, and then its rate would reset once a year for the remaining 25 years of its term. The "5" in the loan’s name means it’s fixed for five years, and the "1" means it can reset every year after that, within restrictions called "floors" and "caps.".
An adjustable rate mortgage, called an ARM for short, is a mortgage with an interest rate that is linked to an economic index. The interest rate and your payments are periodically adjusted up or down as the index changes.
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.
Bankrate.com provides FREE adjustable rate mortgage calculators and other ARM loan calculator tools to help consumers learn more about their mortgages.