The Difference between an ARM and a Fixed-Rate Mortgages


Jul 18, 2022 By Susan Kelly

The rate of interest is one of the most notable things that differentiates the Adjustable-Rate Mortgages and Fixed Rate Mortgage. The starting interest rate on an ARM is often lower than that of a fixed-rate loan.

As a result, an ARM's initial monthly payment is lower than a fixed-rate mortgage's initial monthly payment. However, the interest rate and monthly payment might climb beyond the ARM's first-rate term. Even though your interest rate can only go up so much, you may be saddled with an unmanageable monthly payment after just a few years.

Instead, a fixed-rate mortgage has a set payment that stays the same throughout its term and is only subject to change if you refinance to another lender. Another difference between ARMs and other types of loans is the requirement of a larger initial down payment, usually 5%. You only need a 3% down payment on a traditional, fixed-rate loan.

Definition of a Fixed Rate Mortgage

The rate of interest on a mortgage that is fixed remains the same throughout. In other words, your monthly principal and interest payments will remain the same. (It's important to remember that your monthly mortgage payments may fluctuate due to changes in homeowners insurance, typically included in your loan payments.)

It's the most common financing because it provides consistency and predictability for your budget. Fixed-rate mortgages often have higher interest rates than ARMs, limiting the number of houses you can purchase.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the most popular nowadays. Without insurance or taxes, a $300,000 30-year fixed-rate loan with a 6% interest rate will cost you about $1,799 monthly.

What do we mean by Adjustable-Rate Mortgages?

An adjustable-rate mortgage's interest rate is subject to change. The interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is lower than that of a comparable fixed-rate loan, but the rate gradually climbs over time. Interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) can rise over those on fixed-rate mortgages.

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) has a predetermined period during which the initial interest rate is set, following which the interest rate is adjusted at a predetermined frequency. The fixed-rate period might range from one month to ten years; shorter adjustment periods tend to have lower interest rates at the start. A new interest rate takes effect at the end of the initial period, which is based on current market rates. For the rest of the year, the rate is fixed at this level.

How to Determine Which Loan is the Best for You?

When deciding on a mortgage, you must weigh a variety of personal considerations against the economic realities of a dynamic market. Interest rates fluctuate, as does the economy's vitality, and all of these factors affect the personal finances of individuals. What questions should you ask yourself before making a loan decision?

  • How much of a monthly mortgage payment are you able to afford now?
  • How much of an ARM can you still afford if rates go up?
  • Approximately how long do you plan on residing in this house?
  • What is the current trend in interest rates, and how long do you think it will last?

Consider the worst-case situation when deciding if an ARM is right for you. You can save money monthly with an ARM if your mortgage doesn't reset to its maximum cap. In an ideal world, you would use the money you save over a fixed-rate loan to make extra monthly principal payments, reducing the size of your loan at reset and hence your overall expenditures.

A variable-rate mortgage (ARM) allows you to take advantage of falling interest rates even if rates are currently high. A fixed-rate mortgage may be right for you if you're concerned about rising interest rates or prefer a regular monthly payment.


There are two options for financing a house purchase: adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages. ARMs often have lower beginning payments. However, those payments may climb when the first-rate period is over. This makes them an excellent choice for those who anticipate relocating or refinancing shortly.

Loans with set interest rates are more expensive up front, but their payments are more reliable because they don't fluctuate. For consumers who expect to reside in their new house for a lengthy period, need a stable budget, or both, this makes them a preferable option. Here we conclude our article. For more information, stay tuned!


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