Choosing A 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Over A 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

The Mountain Life Team Blogger September 16, 2011

Comparing 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 15-year fixed rate mortgages

It’s not just 30-year fixed rate mortgages that are posting all-time lows these days. The 15-year mortgage has been plunging, too.

If you’ve ever considered a 15-year loan term, it’s a terrific time to talk to your lender. According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey of roughly 125 U.S. lenders, at 3.30 percent, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is at its lowest point in history.

The 3.30% rate doesn’t come for free, however. Based on average loan term nationwide, borrowers in the North Georgia Mountains choosing to “go 15” should expect to pay 0.6 discount points at closing. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

With low rates, 15-year fixed rate mortgage can be enticing; a primary benefit is the huge reduction in the long-term interest costs of your loan. The downside, though, is that monthly mortgage payments can be relatively large.

At today’s mortgage rates, a 15-year fixed rate loan carries a principal + interest payment of $705.10 per $100,000 borrowed — a 46% increase over a comparable 30-year fixed rate loan. If you can manage the bigger payments, though, you’ll reap $47,000 in interest payments savings per $100,000 borrowed in paying off your loan in full.

$47,000 per $100,000 borrowed is a huge amount of savings and those saved monies can be used to fund items such as college, home improvement, and retirement, among others.

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

Because it comes with higher monthly payments, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage may add financial stress to your household budget. And, once you have committed to a 15-year loan term and its payments, you’re can’t “go back”. Your lender won’t revert your loan to a 30-year schedule without a refinance, and a refinance could be costly.

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