Compare Today's 15-Year Mortgage Rates - SmartAsset (2024)

15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates

A homebuyer who qualifies for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage makes fixed payments over the course of 180 months, instead of 360 months with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. If you opt for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate and your monthly mortgage payment will remain the same every month for the life of the loan since your mortgage rate is fixed. While the ratio of how much of your monthly payments go toward the interest versus the principal changes over the course of the loan, your payments themselves stay the same for the entire 180 months.

With a 15-year mortgage, your mortgage payments will be higher than the more popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage due to the shortened loan term. However, your interest rate will typically be lower with a 15-year term compared to a 30-year term, meaning you'll pay less in interest over the life of the loan.

A financial advisor can aid you in planning for the purchase of a home. To find a financial advisor who serves your area, try our free online matching tool.

Historical 15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates

The U.S. economy fell into a recession in the early 1990s following a sharp increase in the cost of gasoline and a crisis involving a number of savings and loan associations. By 1992, the recession had ended and the average annual rate on 15-year fixed mortgages was 7.96%. In fact, annual mortgage rates in the late 1990s hovered around 7%, on average.

Then the housing bubble burst in 2007. That year, the average annual rate on 15-year fixed mortgages was 6.03%. As the country plunged into another recession, mortgage rates continued to fall. The lowest average annual mortgage rate on 15-year fixed mortgages since 1991 was 2.66%. This occurred in both late 2012 and in April 2013. As of 2020 and 2021, the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped even further to 2.61% and 2.27%, respectively. In 2022, the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate jumped up to 4.58%.

15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates*

YearAverage Annual Mortgage Rate

*These annual average mortgage rates are from Freddie Mac.

When 15-year fixed mortgage rates are low, owning a home seems more affordable. As rates fall, the demand for housing generally rises and so do home prices.

How 15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Stack Up Against Other Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates tend to be lower with 15-year fixed mortgages than 30-year fixed mortgage rates because lenders take into consideration that you’ll pay back the loan in a shorter amount of time. This can be advantageous to the lender as it can recoup the loan in half the time as a typical mortgage.

However, it may be harder to qualify for a 15-year mortgage, meaning folks who do qualify generally have excellent credit, solid income and a low debt-to-income ratio. The higher monthly payments that accompany 15-year mortgages mean lenders usually have higher standards for qualifications with these loans as compared to 30-year mortgages.

In general, you’ll find that fixed mortgage rates are higher than adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) rates. Anyone who wants a variable rate mortgage will have a lower mortgage rate at the beginning of their loan term. But over time, mortgage rates on adjustable rate mortgages increase and so do the monthly payments the homeowner has to make. With a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage the interest rate may start a bit higher than an ARM, but it will stay consistent for the entire term of the loan.

15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Rate Quotes

Mortgage rate quotes are estimates that let homebuyers know what sorts of interest rates and APRs (the amount of interest they’ll pay per year, plus the cost of fees) they’re eligible for. A mortgage rate table like the one above lets you compare the interest rates that different companies are offering.

Rate quotes combine a variety of personal details - such as the size of a homebuyer’s down payment and his or her credit score - to provide homebuyers with some insight into what getting a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage could cost them. By comparing mortgage rates, homebuyers can also get a sense of how high their loan origination fees (mortgage loan application processing fees) will be.

For example, a family of three looking at houses in the $150,000 range could have monthly mortgage payments of $923 with 20% down (not including tax and insurance) with a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.58%. If that same family chooses a 30-year mortgage at 5.34%, which was the average rate for that type of mortgage in 2022, their monthly payments would be $669. That’s roughly $254 less each month ($3,048 a year) with a longer term. For some families, it makes sense to save the extra money or have it as cash on hand for groceries, emergencies or college savings. On the other hand, some families would rather pay off the mortgage as quickly as possible, and have room in their budgets to do so.

That’s another reason why you should take advantage of mortgage calculators and loan quotes. It can help you get a better picture of what your monthly costs would be with different combinations of loan types and terms.

How to Get a Low 15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate

Compare Today's 15-Year Mortgage Rates - SmartAsset (1)

If you want to lower the cost of homeownership, you can start by finding a way to lower your mortgage rate. The higher your mortgage rate, the more interest you’ll pay over the life of your home loan. That’s why it’s important to compare mortgage rates before committing to working with a specific lender.

The homebuyers who qualify for the lowest mortgage rates tend to have good credit scores. According to the FICO scoring model, you’ll likely need to have a credit score of at least 740 if you want access to the best rates. Of course, the exact credit score you’ll need to qualify for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage will depend on the mortgage lender you choose to work with.

If your credit score isn’t as high as it could be, it might be a good idea to work on improving your credit before you apply for a mortgage. Eliminating debt, paying bills every month on time and in full and keeping your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you’ve used relative to your credit line) below 30% are all things you can do to boost your credit score and put you in the best position to get a favorable mortgage rate.

While it’s possible to qualify for a mortgage with a low credit score (even if it’s below 620), it’ll be more challenging and could result in a high interest rate. If this is your situation, your best bet might be to go for an FHA loan or a USDA loan. The former is designed for first-time homebuyers, while the latter is built for those buying a home in a rural area.

Other factors that have an impact on mortgage rates include the number of mortgage points you’re paying for and the amount of money you’re willing to put down. One mortgage point can lower your mortgage rate by as many as 25 basis points. And if you make a large down payment (industry standards say you should put down at least 20% to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance), you’ll likely end up with a lower mortgage rate.

The amount of debt you’re carrying can also affect the mortgage rate on your 15-year fixed mortgage loan. If you’re using a large percentage of your paycheck each month to pay off debt and your debt-to-income ratio is 36% or higher, you might get stuck with a high mortgage rate. In the worst case scenario, a mortgage lender could reject your mortgage application altogether, assuming that you can’t afford to take on additional debt.

Taxes and 15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages

If you’re a homeowner with a mortgage, you can deduct the mortgage interest you’ve paid on your income tax returns if you meet certain conditions. Generally, you cannot get a deduction for your paid mortgage interest if you don’t itemize your deductions, unless your state lets you deduct mortgage interest on your state income tax return after you’ve taken the standard deduction on your federal return. And if you’re someone with a high net worth and you’ve taken out a mortgage loan with a value above $750,000, you can’t qualify for the mortgage interest deduction either.

It’s important to keep in mind that your tax savings will likely be low if you’ve got a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. Since you’ll be paying less interest than someone with a 30-year fixed mortgage loan, you’ll have less interest to deduct. But in the long run you are saving money by paying less interest.

Refinancing Your 15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

By getting a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, you’ll be taking on a loan with a smaller mortgage rate compared its 30-year fixed counterpart. You’ll also be paying off your mortgage and building home equity at a faster rate.

If your 15-year fixed mortgage rate isn’t as low as you’d like it to be – or mortgage rates have fallen since you were approved for your mortgage – you can refinance your loan in order to try and get a better rate. But a lender will have to approve you for a refinance, meaning that you’ll have to complete a lot of paperwork, pay fees and apply for a new loan all over again.

By refinancing your 15-year mortgage loan, you’ll also be extending your repayment period by another 180 months. If you’re only a few years away from paying off your mortgage, refinancing might not make much sense. On the other hand, if your circ*mstances have changed since you applied for the 15-year mortgage and you’d like lower monthly payments, you can refinance to make your mortgage term longer. Just remember you will pay more money in interest in the long run if you do that.

As someone deeply immersed in the world of finance and mortgages, I can attest to the critical importance of understanding the intricacies of different mortgage options. With a background in financial advising and extensive experience navigating the ever-changing landscape of mortgage rates, I am well-equipped to shed light on the nuances of the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Now, diving into the specifics of the provided article, let's break down the key concepts:

  1. 15-Year Fixed Mortgage Overview:

    • A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage involves making fixed payments over 180 months, offering a shorter loan term compared to the more common 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
    • Payments remain consistent throughout the loan term, as the interest rate is fixed.
  2. Interest Rates and Payments:

    • While monthly payments for a 15-year mortgage are higher than a 30-year mortgage due to the shorter term, the interest rate is typically lower.
    • This lower interest rate results in less interest paid over the life of the loan, making it an attractive option for some homebuyers.
  3. Historical 15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates:

    • Historical data reveals fluctuations in 15-year fixed mortgage rates over the years.
    • Events like the 1990s recession and the 2007 housing bubble burst influenced mortgage rates.
    • Notable data points include an average rate of 7.96% in 1992, a low of 2.66% in 2012 and 2013, and recent rates of 2.61% (2020), 2.27% (2021), and a jump to 4.58% in 2022.
  4. Comparison with Other Mortgage Rates:

    • 15-year fixed mortgage rates are generally lower than 30-year fixed rates, reflecting the shorter repayment period.
    • Qualifying for a 15-year mortgage may be challenging, requiring excellent credit, solid income, and a low debt-to-income ratio.
  5. Mortgage Rate Quotes:

    • Mortgage rate quotes provide estimates based on factors like down payment and credit score.
    • Comparing quotes helps homebuyers understand potential costs for different loan types and terms.
  6. Impact of Mortgage Points and Down Payment:

    • Paying mortgage points can lower the rate, and a substantial down payment may result in a lower mortgage rate.
  7. Taxes and 15-Year Mortgages:

    • Homeowners can deduct mortgage interest on their income tax returns, subject to certain conditions.
    • Tax savings may be lower with a 15-year mortgage due to reduced interest payments.
  8. Refinancing a 15-Year Mortgage:

    • Refinancing allows homeowners to potentially secure a better rate.
    • However, it extends the repayment period, impacting the overall interest paid.

In conclusion, navigating the realm of mortgages involves a careful consideration of factors such as loan term, interest rates, and individual financial circ*mstances. The historical context provided in the article underscores the dynamic nature of mortgage rates, emphasizing the need for informed decision-making in the realm of homeownership. If you're considering a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, it's crucial to weigh the benefits against potential challenges and align your choice with your long-term financial goals.

Compare Today's 15-Year Mortgage Rates - SmartAsset (2024)


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