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340 Sixth Avenue, #4 (Douglas Elliman) 340 Sixth Avenue, #4 (Douglas Elliman)
With interest rates rising, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are once again becoming a popular mortgage choice, and for a good reason. When interest rates surge, ARMs are generally the most attractive financing option available to buyers. Still, whatever the market conditions, it is important for buyers seeking financing to consider the pros and cons of these different mortgage products.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

A fixed-rate mortgage is exactly what one might expect—a mortgage with a rate that holds for the entire term of the mortgage. Said differently, if you lock in at 5.8% for 30 years, that's the rate you'll have until you either sell your home or refinance.

When rates are low, a fixed-rate mortgage offers great peace of mind. For example, anyone who locked in to a 2.75 or 2.8 percent mortgage in 2021 will enjoy that rate until they sell or pay off their home, whatever happens to the economy and the prime interest rate. However, even if you lock in to a fixed-rate mortgage at 5 or 6 percent, these mortgages still offer something that no other mortgage offers—certainty. Whatever happens, you’ll always know how much you’ll be expected to pay down on your mortgage month-to-month.

When interest rates increase, fixed-rate mortgage rates don’t typically offer the best rates. Indeed, fixed-rate mortgages are often a whole percentage point higher than APR mortgages or ARMs.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

Also known as variable-rate mortgages, in the case of an ARM, one’s mortgage rate fluctuates over time. In most cases, ARMs start with a fixed rate and then move to an adjustable or floating rate after a specific period of time (e.g., two or five years).

The main reason to opt for an ARM over a fixed-rate mortgage is the favorable rates these mortgages offer. Currently, most ARMs are approximately 1 percentage point lower than most fixed-rate rates, which can offer considerable savings over time.

An obvious problem with any ARM is that you can't fully predict how much you'll end up paying on your mortgage down the line. For this reason, if you're someone with low risk tolerance, an ARM may not be the right mortgage product for you, even if it offers a better rate to start.

You Likely Don't Need a Long-Term Fixed-Rate Mortgage

While it may have been comforting to lock in to a 30-year mortgage at 2.75 percent back in 2021, the reality is that the vast majority of people who took advantage of 2021’s historically low rates will sell long before their fixed-rate mortgages expire. According to the National Association of Realtors, as of 2021, the average U.S. home was only owned for 13 years. In New York City and the surrounding area, the average tenure of home ownership was somewhat higher—15 years on average. But even factoring in the region's longer homeownership rates, the average New Yorker still sells before the life of their mortgage expires. Given this, the risks associated with opting for an ARM versus a fixed-rate mortgage are actually not as great as one might assume. However, even if you don't move, if and when interest rates come down, you can modify or refinance your loan as needed.
A loan modification refers to any change to the original terms of your mortgage. If interest rates suddenly drop, for example, some lenders will work with borrowers to modify their loans to help them take advantage of the new lower rates. In some cases, you may even be able to modify an ARM to lock in to a fixed-rate mortgage at a lower rate. For lenders, it is often more advantageous to modify an existing loan than risk losing a credit-worthy customer to another lender. But even if your lender won't modify your loan, you still have options.
Another way to acquire a more preferable rate is to refinance. While this can be a great way to lock in to a lower rate and even switch from an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage, when refinancing, you may be hit with a penalty. While not always applicable, some lenders do impose penalties on certain mortgages when paid off before the term's expiration date. Since refinancing will result in paying off the existing mortgage early, penalties may apply. If you stand to pay considerably less in interest over time, however, the overall savings will likely still outweigh any penalty paid for refinancing.

It is important to note that with a New York City apartment, monthly mortgage payments are required in addition to maintenance payments for co-ops or common charges and real estate taxes for condos. Below, we take a look at apartments with low monthly charges.

317-East-3rd-Street-01 317 East 3rd Street, #2 (Stephen P. Wald)
From the Listing: As you traverse through a small foyer you are greeted by 12-foot original wood-beamed ceilings, a wall of exposed brick, and beautiful 5-inch oak panel flooring. The unit benefits from amazing air and light with three new massive commercial-grade windows (one that is fully retractable), framed with industrial steel beams that overlook a lush garden with mature plantings. There is storage everywhere, including a built-in desk, file cabinets, and a 12-foot-high oak closet that was originally designed to house a Murphy bed to maximize the floor plan. Just off the living area you will find the fully-equipped chef's kitchen that consists of a chefs stainless steel cooking range with exhaust hood, a side-by-side Bosch washer/dryer, a deep Hansgrohe country sink, granite countertops, and a stainless steel refrigerator. The unit also has its own private storage locker. See floor plan and full details here.

442-49th-Street-01 442 49th Street, #4F (Corcoran)
From the Listing: Welcome to 422 49th Street #4F, a spacious 3-bedroom, 2 full bath duplex in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The north-facing windows get plenty of sunlight while looking out onto the tree-lined street of 49th Street in Sunset Park. Just several minutes away , you will find Industry City, a hub of iconic waterfront buildings, and a destination for exploring new food and creative shopping experiences. See floor plan and full details here.

659-Putnam-Avenue-01 659 Putnam Avenue, #2 (Corcoran)
From the Listing: Welcome to the parlor floor through two-bedroom, one-bath condo at 659 Putnam Avenue. With soaring ceiling height, south-facing oversized windows in the living room, a chef's kitchen, a soaking tub, already installed washer/dryers, a/c in the unit, two generous sized bedrooms and a deck right off the primary bedroom -- you can have it all! Situated in a brownstone on one of the most leafy, beautiful bucolic blocks in Stuyvesant Heights, steps to hot spots like Saraghina, and the A/C train at Utica, this is not to be missed! See floor plan and full details here.

625-East-6th-Street-01 625 East 6th Street, #2 (Compass)
From the Listing: Loft-like one-bedroom has 10' ceilings, antique wood floors, and a spacious bedroom with 2 closets, one is a walk-in. The bedroom windows are soundproof. The unit is approximately 685 square feet and it is on the second floor. The building has a common garden, plus a communal botanical garden is directly across the street. Washer/dryer can be installed with the board approval, and the building is pet-friendly. See floor plan and full details here.

302-2nd-Street-01 The Crest, #5F (Compass)
From the Listing: This incredible home features sprawling hardwood floors, a spacious, open layout, with a private balcony, and floor to ceiling windows that provide tons of natural light. The area is big enough to fit a dedicated dining room, living room, an office space and more. The bedroom can accommodate a king-size bed plus space for additional furniture. The open kitchen comes with cherry cabinetry, a breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances including dishwasher, microwave, and gas stove and oven, and adjacent in-unit washer/dryer. Tax abatement expires in 2034. See floor plan and full details here.

45-West-105th-Street-01 45 West 105th Street, #2A (Level Group Inc.)
From the Listing: Welcome to #2A, where a wonderful opportunity to create your dream home awaits. This apartment features everything a homeowner is looking for: space, light, value, and personality in the Manhattan Valley area. Further down the hall, past two closets, are a full bathroom and a hookup for a washer and dryer. A few steps beyond, is the second bedroom, also with a wide closet and window, which looks out onto the balcony/patio. Across the hall, the plus-sized primary bedroom features its own full bath, deep closet, and skylight. This bedroom also has access to the apartment's most special feature, a balcony/patio. See floor plan and full details here.

42-Duffield-Street-01 42 Duffield Street, #3A (Douglas Elliman)
From the Listing: This light, airy condominium unit feels like home the moment you enter. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow for an abundance of natural light to fill the living and kitchen areas, and a spacious terrace can be accessed from both the living area and the bedroom. Soaring 10.5-foot ceilings and hardwood floors highlight the living area, which opens to a private terrace with plenty of space for a seating area and planters. The open chef's kitchen has Caesarstone countertops, custom cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. The bedroom has custom closets as well as a private entrance to the terrace. The unit comes with in-unit laundry for your convenience. See floor plan and full details here.

1160-Greene-Avenue-01 1160 Greene Avenue, #4A (Compass)
From the Listing: Welcome to 1160 Greene Street in the bustling and trendy neighborhood of Bushwick Brooklyn. This modern 7-unit boutique condominium is a collection of one and two-bedroom, open floor plans with a range of private outdoor options. Each unit has been thoughtfully curated with wide plank hardwood flooring and oversized Pella double-pane windows. Custom cabinetry from 7Haus kitchen designs paired with black slate stone countertops and custom tiling from HomeTyles gives each unit an ultra-modern feeling. Under-cabinet lighting makes food preparation a delight. Counter-depth appliances from Blomberg and Fisher & Paykel complete the entire look. Every unit comes equipped with a washer/dryer connection and private storage. See floor plan and full details here.

468-Warren-Street-01 Grant Mews, #2 (Corcoran)
From the Listing: This floor-through unit is an architectural dream which can come to life with you. As you enter, you are greeted by immaculate natural light pouring through large windows complementing gorgeous hardwood floors. This grand room, with a wood-burning fireplace, is oversized to ensure you can entertain in luxury. Within this generously proportioned space you can comfortably create space for living, dining, and working without feeling cramped. A large passthrough connects this grand, multiuse room to a chic U-shaped kitchen. The kitchen is a perfect working triangle with great counters, amazing appliances, lots of storage, and art deco vibes. The spacious theme carries into the serene bedrooms. See floor plan and full details here.

529-Clinton-Street Clinton Villas, #3R (Corcoran)
From the Listing: Located on beautiful tree-lined Clinton Street, this amazing duplex condo has been beautifully renovated and is waiting for you to call it yours. Upon entering this lovely home, you are immediately greeted by vaulted ceilings, beautiful hardwood floors and large glass sliders that lead out to your private terrace that is surrounded by pretty trees. The newly renovated, modern kitchen boats high-end stainless steel appliances, beautiful quartz countertops, loads of cabinet space and a full-sized washer/dryer. The kitchen leads to a dining nook that can fit a nice dining table and flows into your sunny living room. This floor also has a coat closet, full tiled bathroom and one large bedroom. This bedroom has vaulted ceilings, a walk-in-closet, two oversized windows and super sunny skylight. See floor plan and full details here.

333-Pearl-Street-01 Southbridge Towers, #20C (Focus Real Estate Group)
From the Listing: Scenic views await from this turnkey 2-bedroom home with a private balcony overlooking the South Street Seaport, East River, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges! The renovated unit features an open kitchen with a breakfast bar, tiled floor and backsplash, including stainless steel appliances and a wine fridge. Vinyl floors abound the living area with a skim-coated ceiling and fine crown molding cleverly concealing the electrical. Dimmable track and sconce lighting enhance the ambience in the twilight hours. Additional unique features include built-ins in the living room for additional storage, a home office and built-in closets in the primary bedroom. The extremely low maintenance includes utilities (heat, hot water, gas, and electricity) and real estate property taxes. See floor plan and full details here.

259-West-85th-Street-01 259 West 85th Street, #6 (Corcoran)
From the Listing: Perched on the top floor of a pristine prewar boutique condominium building, in the heart of the Upper West Side, awaits this sunny penthouse duplex home with two levels inside and two levels of private terrace! This penthouse has everything, the indoor residence has a seamless open floor plan with access to the main terrace on the south side and a stunning triple pane glass solarium/ dining room on the north end with a gracious living room in between. There is an open windowed kitchen with a center island, granite counters, dishwasher, food disposal, gas stove and oven, washer/ dryer and its own sky light. Additionally, this floor features high ceilings, recessed lighting, richly stained dark brown wood floors with exposures open to the south and the north with amazing light throughout the day. See floor plan and full details here.

19-Hausman-Street-01 19 Hausman Street, #4A (Douglas Elliman)
From the Listing: Unit 4A is a 2-bed/ 2-bath home with approximately 929 square feet of indoor space. Enter the home and stumble upon the sleek, alcove kitchen. Continue into the living area with space to entertain and dine. The primary bedroom features an en-suite bath and large enough for a king size bed and additional furniture. The modern feel continues into the bathroom with floor to ceiling tiling, glass showers and floating sinks. The second bedroom is also of substantial size. See floor plan and full details here.

727-Dean-Street-01 727 Dean Street, #1R (Serhant)
From the Listing: Welcome home to apartment 1R at 727 Dean Street, a large, mint condition duplex condo with its own private outdoor space. 11-foot-tall ceilings create a feeling of openness and clarity. Additional features include Caesarstone countertops, stainless steel appliances, custom walnut cabinetry in the kitchen, wide plank oak flooring, silk stone porcelain tiles in the bathrooms, ductless split AC dual zone units, and washer/dryer in unit. See floor plan and full details here.

134-37-35th-Avenue-01 The Farrington, #14A (Nest Seekers)
From the Listing: Enjoy contemporary luxury and ultra-convenient living at this pristine 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom with private outdoor space and high-end finishes throughout. Engineered Barcelona oak floors run are set aglow by steady streams of natural light that pour into the home through floor-to-ceiling windows from sunrise to sunset. Integrated soundproofing insulation ensures solitude and privacy, while a LATCH smart lock door is one of several high-tech upgrades. The kitchen is equipped with an eat-in peninsula, custom GD Arredamenti cabinets, sleek stone countertops, and fully integrated high-end appliances from Bertazzoni and Bosch. See floor plan and full details here.

308-West-97th-Street-01 The Frontenac, #22 (Time Equities Inc.)
From the Listing: Nestled between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, this distinctive home offers an exquisite mix of classic elegance with modern convenience. Smartly conceived and generously proportioned residence features wide white oak plank hardwood floors, high ceilings, and abundant closet space with extra storage cabinets. Entertain your guests in your sleek chef's gourmet kitchen complete with custom wood cabinetry accented by white Caesarstone counter tops, and top of the line stainless steel appliances by Miele and Bosch. The primary bedroom features a walk-in closet as well as an en-suite white marble and windowed bathroom with floor to ceiling shower, rainfall shower head, custom mirrored vanity all with Hansgrohe and Axor Citterio faucets. See floor plan and full details here.

47-Bridge-Street-01 WaterBridge 47, #THC (Serhant)
From the Listing: Features of this chic Brooklyn duplex include gorgeous hardwood floors, central heating and cooling, stylish fixtures and finishes, a convenient in-unit washer/dryer, Somfy custom automated shades, and a flexible basement level that has been renovated and configured with two rooms and a full bathroom. The upper level of the home contains 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and a luminous open-concept living room, dining room, and kitchen with an eat-in peninsula, sleek white Carrera marble countertops, a herringbone tile backsplash, custom and lacquer cabinets, and a suite of high-end stainless steel appliances from Bosch's Benchmark Series. See floor plan and full details here.

340-Sixth-Avenue-01 340 Sixth Avenue, #4 (Douglas Elliman)
From the Listing: Inside this pristine new home, ceilings that soar over 9.5 feet high and 8-inch engineered white oak floors amplify the wonderfully bright and airy ambiance. Enjoy large living and dining areas alongside a beautiful bay window, while the adjacent open kitchen impresses with custom Shinnoki oak cabinetry, Carrara marble countertops, Insinkerator garbage disposal and Franke fixtures. The fleet of Thermador appliances includes an electric oven with a vented range hood, a 30-inch refrigerator and a dishwasher. Head to your private 566-square-foot roof deck to enjoy fantastic al fresco lounging and entreating surrounded by gorgeous neighborhood and Manhattan views. See floor plan and full details here.

110-West-80th-Street-01 110 West 80th Street, #4RF (Redfin Real Estate)
From the Listing: Located in a beautiful historic brownstone from the early 1900s, this home is the largest layout in the building. The combination unit features southern and northern exposures, providing beautiful natural light throughout the day, as well as a nice cross breeze when the windows are open. Historic details of the home have been carefully preserved, while tasteful updates have been made for the convenience of modern living. As you enter into the living room, you’re immediately met with the grandness of the space. Dark hardwood floors pair well with the clean white aesthetic. There is a working fireplace, crown molding throughout, and tall ceilings. The skylight bathes the room in light. See floor plan and full details here.

327-West-22nd-Street 327 West 22nd Street, #1 (Corcoran)
From the Listing: Apartment 1 is a two bedroom 1.5 bathroom loft-like duplex with a stunning private garden, a rare opportunity on an Historic District block. 1,088 square feet of luxe interior space includes casement-style oversize double-pane windows, wide plank teak floors, a chef's quality kitchen (full suite of Sub-Zero, Viking and Bosch appliances, with teak and marble accents centered around a statement dining island), two large bedrooms with cabinet closets and French Doors with direct access to the garden and 1.5 baths executed in marble with high-quality fixtures. Stacked and vented washer/dryer in unit along with central air and heat. See floor plan and full details here.

25-Fifth-Avenue-01 25 Fifth Avenue, #14E (Classic Marketing LLC)
From the Listing: Located on Fifth Avenue and 9th Street in an elegant prewar condominium, 14E is completely renovated with the qualities one seeks in a prewar home. There are high ceilings, windows facing west directly onto Fifth Avenue providing beautiful light, large living room and bedroom, new kitchen including appliances by Miele, Bertazzoni, Liebherr and XO , a dedicated split system for air conditioning, new windowed marble bath with radiant heated floor, new hardwood floors throughout and a welcoming 790-square-foot floor plan. See floor plan and full details here.

242-East-7th-Street-01 242 East 7th Street, #4 (NYLON Real Estate)
From the Listing: Located in a rare landmarked gem, Apartment 4 is an absolutely fabulous triplex one-bedroom loft with a home office and generous private outdoor space. Light, bright interiors are very spacious and airy, and beautifully designed with a thoughtful layout over 3 levels, affording numerous options for usage. The chic main floor boasts a gracious open floorplan for entertaining, featuring expansive living and dining areas, and sleek, stunning open kitchen with an island for the chef. The second floor loft area is reserved for a study, home office or sleeping quarters, complete with a walk-in closet with custom built-ins and a full bathroom. Level 3 is occupied by the primary bedroom retreat, bathed in sunlight and having access to the huge, breathtaking outdoor garden/terrace oasis that is perfect for alfresco dining, cocktail parties, or simply lounging in the sun. See floor plan and full details here.

303-Greenwich-Street-01 The Tribeca, #4L (Cooper and Cooper RE)
From the Listing: Bright and airy, this Tribeca loft's living room enjoys both southern and western exposure, with a beautiful arched window overlooking a lush, landscaped courtyard. The chef's kitchen makes it easy to entertain, for it has been completely renovated with an abundance of counter space and outfitted with a Wolf oven, Miele appliances, a deep sink, wine fridge and endless storage. There is recessed lighting throughout the home, custom closets and a washer/dryer in the hall. See floor plan and full details here.

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Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.