A subprime primer
Only a third of buyers in the first half of the year who opted for the higher-rate loans -- meant for people with less than perfect credit -- fit that description, according to a survey just released by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Meanwhile, 64 percent of all new subprime loans were to refinance an existing loan, not to buy a house. That's up from 55 percent during the second half of last year.
Of all new subprime loans, just under 70 percent were adjustable-rate. That might seem worrisomely high, considering that subprime ARMs are a key part of the reason the credit industry is in turmoil and the government is brokering rate-freeze deals, but take heart: It was 75 percent in the second half of last year.