Interest Rate Limits

For home loans on adjustable interest rates, there are usually mechanisms in place to prevent borrowers and lenders from becoming victims of volatile rate movements in the market.

While most people feel that limit on how high rates can spike on their loan protect them, there are also limits to how low rates can fall to protect lenders.

Here are some of the common mechanisms in place to limit the movement of mortgage rates.

Interest rate ceiling

Sometimes known as the lifetime cap, the interest rate ceiling sets an upper limit of how high interest rate on the loan can be.

This the maximum amount and any further spikes in index rates beyond this point will still result in the maximum rate specified here being used.

Rate adjustment cap

The rate adjustment cap specifies the maximum amount any single adjustment can be.

For example, if the adjustment cap is 1% and the index rate increased by 2%, after the adjustment interval, the maximum increase in the home loan’s interest is still 1%.

This applies for both increase and decrease of rates.

Interest rate decrease cap

Somewhat similar to the rate adjustment cap, the interest rate decrease cap dictate the maximum amount of decrease allowed on any single adjustment.

Interest rate increase cap

The opposite of a decrease cap, an increase cap puts a limit on how much an increase can be.

Interest rate floor

This states the minimum amount, or lower limit, of percentage interest on the loan.

This feature is to protect lenders from strange rate movements.

For example, LIBOR were in negative territory for much of the last decade. If borrowers are literally charged negative rates on their mortgages, lenders would have to pay borrowers to main these loans.

That sounds ludicrous.

The interest rate floor ensures that there is a minimum interest that borrower will pay no matter how low general interest rates in the economy are moving.

Payment adjustment cap

As changing interest rates will cause changes to amortization, resulting in changing monthly payments, the payment adjustment cap sets a limit on the size of changes made on payment amounts.

This mortgage feature can be a critical element for borrowers who have cash flow problems.

When payments do not fully cover interest due, the excess will be accrued into the outstanding balance.