NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- More than two million subprime adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are poised to reset at much higher rates in coming months, worsening an already suffering housing market.
Borrowers who took out hybrid ARMs in 2004 and 2005 to secure low "teaser" rates for the first two or three years of the loan may see their monthly mortgage payments climb by 35 percent or more.
Consumer groups and politicians worry that hundreds of thousands of subprime ARM borrowers will be unable to keep up with their mortgage payments and will lose their homes.
"In October alone more than $50 billion in ARMs will reset," according to Mark Zandi, chief economist and co-founder of Moody's Economy.com. That's a record, according to Zandi.
A buyer in 2005 with poor credit and limited means might have signed on for a $200,000 2/28 hybrid ARM, locking in a fixed rate of 4 percent for two years. After paying $955 a month, his bill would now be set to spike to $1,331, a 39 percent increase.
Until recently, rising home prices bailed out many ARM borrowers in trouble. They could raise cash with cash-out refinancings or home equity lines of credit. If worse came to worse, they could sell the house and get some money back.
But prices have stabilized or slipped in many markets. (Latest home prices.)
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