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

Dec 9, 2011

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

For as low as 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates are in California 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.

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