Which Is Better : 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Or 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage?

15-year fixed rate or 30-year fixed rate?As a home buyer or refinancing household , you have choices with respect to your mortgage.

You can choose a loan with accompanying discount points in exchange for lower mortgage rates; you can choose adjustable-rate loans over fixed rate ones; and, you can choose loans with principal + interest repayment schedules or repayments which are interest only, as examples.

For borrowers using fixed rate loans, there’s also the choice between the 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgage. Each has its positives and negatives and neither is “better” than the other.

Choosing your most appropriate fixed-rate term is a matter of preference and, sometimes, of budget.

The 15-Year Mortgage
With a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, mortgage rates are often lower as compared to a comparable 30-year fixed rate mortgage. However, because loan repayment is compressed into half as many years, the monthly payment will necessarily be higher, all things equal. On the other side, though, homeowners using a 15-year fixed rate mortgage will build equity faster, and will pay less mortgage interest over time.

The 30-Year Mortgage
With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, mortgage rates tend to be higher as compared to a 15-year fixed rate loan, but payments are much lower — sometimes by as much as 50%. Lower payments come at a cost, however, as mortgage interest costs add up over 30 years. Regardless, 30-year fixed rate mortgages remain the most common mortgage product for their simplicity and low relative payment.

Which One Is Right For You?
There is no “best” choice between the 15-year fixed rate mortgage and the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Choose a product based on your short- and long-term financial goals, and your personal feelings regarding debt. Mortgage applicants choosing the 30-year fixed rate mortgage can qualify to purchase homes at higher price points, but those using the 15-year fixed rate product will stop making payments a decade-and-a-half sooner.

There are benefits with both product types so, if you’re unsure of which path works best for you, speak with your loan officer for guidance and advice.

Freddie Mac 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Rates Rises To 3.55%

30-year fixed rate mortgage rateMortgage rates couldn’t fall forever, it seems.

This week, for the first time since mid-June, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate climbed on a week-over-week basis, moving 6 basis points to 3.55%, on average, nationwide.

According to Freddie Mac, 3.55 percent is the highest average rate at which the benchmark product has been offered in close to 4 weeks.

The Freddie Mac published mortgage rate is available for prime borrowers willing to pay a full set of closing costs plus an accompanying 0.7 discount points.

Discount points are a one-time, upfront mortgage loan fee to be paid at closing where 1 discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size. In this way, a home buyer who pays one discount point at closing will be responsible for an additional $1,000 in closing costs per $100,000 borrowed.

However, although Freddie Mac says that the average mortgage rate is 3.55%, not everyone who applies for a conforming mortgage will get access to that rate. This is because Freddie Mac’s published rates are the ones offered to “prime” borrowers, the definition of which often includes :

  • Top-rated credit scores, typically 740 or higher
  • Verifiable income using two year’s of tax returns 
  • Home equity of at least 25%

Borrowers not meeting the above criteria should expect slightly higher mortgage rates and/or discount points. In some cases, such as when an applicant’s credit score is below 680, mortgage rates may be higher by as much as 0.500%.

Although mortgage rates are up this week, though, the impact on home affordability is muted. Mortgage payments rose just $3 per month per $100,000 borrowed this week as compared to last week. 3.55% remains the third-lowest Freddie Mac rate of all-time.

Mortgage rates remain unpredictable and there’s no guarantee for low rates to last forever — much less through August. If today’s mortgage rates meet your needs, therefore, consider locking something in.

Mortgage Rates Down 1 Percent In One Year

Freddie Mac Mortgage Rates

Another week, another new low for mortgage rates. 

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate fell 3 basis points to 3.53% last week nationwide. The 3.53% mortgage rate is available to mortgage applicants who are willing to pay 0.7 discount points, on average, plus a full set of closing costs.

One year ago, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate was 4.52%. Today, it’s nearly one percent lower. For every $100,000 borrowed at today’s rates as compared to July 2011, a mortgage applicant will save $57 per $100,000 borrowed, or $684 per year.

Over 30 years of a loan, those savings add up.

30-year fixed rate mortgage rates have now dropped through 5 consecutive weeks, and in 11 of the last 12 weeks, a streak dating back to late-April. Depending where you live, however, you may not get access to 3.53% mortgage rates. As Freddie Mac’s survey reveals, mortgage rates vary by region.

Last week, mortgage rates by region were listed as follows :

  • Northeast Region : 3.56% with 0.7 discount points 
  • West Region : 3.49% with 0.7 discount points
  • Southeast Region : 3.58% with 0.7 discount points
  • North Central Region : 3.52% with 0.7 discount points
  • Southwest Region : 3.56% with 0.7 discount points

Homeowners and home buyers in California, Oregon and Washington, therefore, received the lowest rates in the country, on average. Owners and buyers in Florida and Georgia, by contrast, received the highest rates.

This week, though, mortgage rates are lower everywhere.

With Spain at risk for a sovereign default and China warning of slow growth, mortgage rates began the week by falling yet again. If you’re eligible to refinance, therefore, the timing may be right to lock a mortgage rate. Similarly, if you’re an active home buyer , today’s low rates will bolster your maximum purchasing power.

Talk to your loan officer about capitalizing on the lowest rates of all-time. Rates may not rise beginning next week, but when they do rise, they’ll likely rise quickly.

Lock An Instant 13% Savings On Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

Mortgage payments down 13%

Falling mortgage rates make owning a home more affordable. Mortgage rates are directly tied to monthly mortgage payment so as mortgage rates drop, so does the cost of home-ownership.  

It’s a money-saving time to buy a home — or to refinance one. Mortgage rates have never been this low in history.

According to Freddie Mac, last week, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.87% nationwide for borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus closing costs. 0.8 discount points is a one-time closing cost equal to 0.8 percent of your loan size, or $800 per $100,000 borrowed.

This represents an incredible value as compared to February of last year. 

It was exactly one year ago that mortgage rates begin their long slide lower. On February 11, 2011, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage reached its peak for the year, reading 5.05% in Freddie Mac’s nationwide survey. If you are among the many U.S. households that bought or refinanced a home around that time, you could choose to replace your current home loan with a new one and save close to 13% on your monthly mortgage payment.

13 percent saved on your mortgage is a noteworthy statistic.

Look at this 30-year fixed rate mortgage payment comparison over the last 12 months :

  • February 2011 : $539.88 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed
  • February 2012 : $469.95 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed

Because of falling mortgage rates, a homeowner with a $250,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage would save at least $175 per month just by refinancing into a new loan at today’s mortgage rates. That’s $2,100 in savings per year. 

Even after accounting for discount points and closing costs, the “break-even point” on a mortgage like that can come relatively quickly.

We can’t predict mortgage rates so there’s no promise rates will stay like this forever. If you’re planning to buy a home or refinance one, the best way to keep your monthly payments down is to lock your rate while rates are still low.

The market looks ripe for that now. 

Reduce Long-Term Loan Costs With A 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

Comparing 30-year fixed rate mortgage to 15-year fixed rate mortgages

For as low as 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates are today, 15-year fixed rate mortgage rates are even lower.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average 15-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now 3.27% nationwide with an accompanying 0.8 discount points. 1 discount point is a closing cost equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

The current 15-year fixed rate reading is just one tick above the all-time, 15-year fixed rate mortgage low of 3.26% set in October 2011.

If you’ve ever thought of “going 15″, it’s a terrific time to talk to your lender.

The primary benefit of using a 15-year fixed rate mortgage as opposed to a 30-year fixed rate one is that a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dramatically cuts the long-term interest costs of your loan. The downside is that monthly payments are relatively large.

At today’s mortgage rates, per $100,000 borrowed :

  • 15-year fixed rate mortgage : $704 principal + interest monthly
  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage : $477 principal + interest monthly

So, for homeowners opting for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly principal + interest payments will be 48% higher as compared to a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of the same loan size. Long-term, however, because the 15-year fixed rate mortgage interest rate is lower and because it pays off in half the time of a 30-year loan, a homeowner will save $45,000 in interest costs per $100,000 borrowed.

$45,000 per $100,000 borrowed is a huge amount of savings. It’s monies that can be used for college tuition, home improvement projects, retirement savings, or anything else. 

That said, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is not ideal for everyone.

Because it requires higher monthly payments, a 15-year fixed rate mortgage may add stress to your household budget. Furthermore, once you commit to a 15-year loan term with your lender, you can’t revert back to a 30-year loan term without a refinance and refinances can be costly.

Therefore, be sure of yourself when selecting a 15-year fixed rate loan. The rewards are great, but the risks can be, too.