Buyers seek houses that match their dreams, and they usually take that same level of analysis to picking a mortgage.

Adjustable-rate mortgages became popular in the 1980s after the rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages doubled from about 10% in 1977 to nearly 20% in 1981. Their popularity waned as interest rates began a general decline in the mid-1980s, reaching a low of about 4% since 2012.

Yet ARMs still account for about a quarter of loans, and are especially popular for large loans. Their appeal is likely to rise, if, as many lenders expect, interest rates continue rising this year.

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