Indianapolis Area Real Estate Blog

Are Sub-Prime Mortgage Problems Finally A Thing Of The Past?

In the summer of 2005, sub-prime mortgage lending was at its peak.  Rates were relatively low and lending guidelines were relatively loose. At the time, the 'standard' sub-prime mortgage product was the 3/27 ARM. The 3/27 had a few basic traits:

  • A fixed, 3-year 'starter rate'
  • Every six months thereafter, the mortgage rate changed
  • The formula by which it changed was (4.999 percent + 6-month LIBOR rate)

If the loan was interest only, it usually converted to principal + interest at the first adjustment, too. Because the summer of 2005 was the peak of sub-prime lending, it makes sense that the summer of 2008 is the peak of sub-prime adjusting. For Indianapolis homeowners with adjusting sub-prime loans, there is some (relative) good news out there.

Today, the 6-month LIBOR hovers near 3.15 percent, meaning that an adjusted mortgage rate will be in the neighborhood of 8.15 percent. This is versus the rate of 10.30 percent that sub-prime borrowers faced last summer when LIBOR was much higher than it is today. Adjustments of any size can strain a household budget, though, so if you're a sub-prime borrower and your pending adjustment will cause financial strife, be proactive -- talk to your lender before you miss a payment. 

Lenders are often more willing to talk with 'current' borrowers than with delinquent ones. (Image courtesy: Washington Post)

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