What is a 15-year fixed mortgage?

What is a 15-year fixed mortgage?

A 15-year fixed mortgage is a loan whose interest rate stays the same for the duration of the loan. For example, on a 15-year mortgage of $300,000 with an interest rate of 5.75%, the monthly payments would be about $3,097.90. So, the interest rate of 5.75% stays the same for the life of the loan.

Who should get 15-year fixed mortgages?

People who desire a predictable, fixed deduction from their monthly budget, want a shorter loan term, and can tolerate a higher monthly payment are well-suited for 15-year fixed mortgages.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of 15-year fixed mortgages?

The pros of a 15-year fixed mortgage:

it's a predictable monthly payment; the pay down on a 15-year fixed is half the time of a 30-year fixed; the rates are usually lower than a 30-year fixed mortgage; and it's relatively simple and maintenance-free once you lock the rate (you don't need to worry about rate fluctuation).

The cons of a 15-year fixed mortgage:

Monthly payments are quite higher than a 30-year fixed mortgage, therefore making these loans more difficult to qualify for, and the mortgage tax deduction on a 15-year fixed is less than a 30-year fixed.

A 15-Year Mortgage Isn't for Everyone

More homeowners turn to shorter loan terms

A growing number of homeowners are choosing to pay down their mortgages at a faster rate -- even if it means a substantial jump in their monthly payments.

From January through June, 26% of homeowners who refinanced chose a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to data from CoreLogic, a provider of financial, property and consumer information. During all of 2009, 18.5% of borrowers who refinanced opted for a 15-year term. About 9.4% did so in 2007.

What's prompting the shift to shorter loans? Historically low interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages.

Homeowners are doing the math and realizing that rates have fallen enough so the increase in payment between a new 15-year mortgage and their current loan is no longer unbearable for their budgets, said Bob Walters, chief economist at online lender Quicken Loans.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.86% for the week ending Aug. 26.