Soaring interest rates make home ownership harder across Garden State

? Rising interest rates are leaving many New Jersey homeowners saddled with high mortgage rates.

Homeowners who financed their purchases with a traditional fixed-rate loan may be at an advantage. They will pay the same, predicable monthly payment for the life of their mortgage. However, homeowners who took out adjustable loans when interest rates were low are budgeting for bigger payments. About three years ago, the national average for an adjustable mortgage was 3.8 percent, now it?s 7.25 percent.

Experts say the Federal Reserve, which serves as the nation?s central bank, is to blame. When the government raises interest rates, mortgage lenders follow suit and raise adjustable rates. Still, officials say many homeowners should take comfort in the fact that the rate usually increases by only 2 percent annually.

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