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Housing prices are finally starting to go down, but thanks to interest rate hikes, monthly mortgage payments are more out of reach than ever before. With all of this financial uncertainty, you may be considering an adjustable-rate mortgage, which are starting to increase in popularity once again. If that term sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same type of loan that played an instrumental role in the 2008 housing crash—and it’s one you should still avoid today.

What is an adjustable-rate mortgage?

An adjustable-rate mortgage (or ARM) starts with a locked-in interest rate that is lower than a conventional fixed-rate mortgage for the first (typically) 5-7 years of the loan. However, the interest rate can increase (or decrease) after that initial period expires based on what the rate is at the time. So while it has the advantage of starting with a lower monthly payment than a fixed-rate mortgage, it’s a risky option because payments for an adjustable-rate mortgage can change over time—sometimes by a lot. Meanwhile, a fixed-rate mortgage will remain the same for the entirety of the loan.