He writes, for Bloomberg:
Bloomberg: Many analysts and public officials have said that foreclosures of subprime adjustable-rate mortgages would soar this year as owners' monthly payments jumped when interest rates reset to a higher level. Not only is that unlikely to happen, this year's resets of earlier vintages of subprime mortgages may even reduce some payments that increased in 2007. The reason? The index to which many ARMs are tied is the six-month London inter-bank offered rate, or Libor, and that rate has fallen from more than 5.3 percent last fall to about half that level. The Federal Reserve's cuts in its target for the overnight lending rate -- the last to 2.25 percent on March 18 -- from 5.25 percent in mid-September, plus actions to increase liquidity in the inter-bank lending market, have caused the Libor to fall.
Unfortunately, most of the defaults and foreclosures that have wreaked havoc in financial markets haven't been due to resets so far. Many borrowers simply bought a house or condo they couldn't afford unless bailed out by rising prices, and lower rates alone won't help them much. Still, the big drop in Libor means there likely will be many fewer foreclosures than there would have been.
Much of the discussion about the danger of resets has focused on the initial interest rate, or ``teaser rate,'' that ARMs carried. That left the impression it was a very low rate that would adjust up a lot. Most of the initial rates were 8.5 percent or above, and now many are set to adjust hardly at all...