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Summary: In a previous blog post, we discussed some of the different types of mortgage loans available to home buyers and homeowners in Washington. Today, we’ll zero in on the key distinctions between 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate mortgage products. Here’s an overview of the key features of these home loan options, as well as their pros and cons.
There are several different types of mortgage programs available to buyers in Washington State, but fixed-rate mortgages tend to be the most common. That said, buyers can choose between long- and short-term fixed rate mortgages, and the one you choose will depend on how much you can set aside for mortgage payments and what your overall budgeting goals are.
Let’s take a look at both 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.
According to Freddie Mac, about 90% of home buyers use the “standard” 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to buy a house.
You have options when choosing a fixed-rate type of loan. You don’t necessarily have to take it out for 30 years. Some borrowers choose to use a 15-year option instead of the more popular 30-year term. There are pros and cons to having a shorter repayment window.
At a glance: Choosing a 15-year (versus a 30-year) mortgage loan could save you a significant amount of money over the long term. That’s because you are paying interest for fewer years. Additionally, 15-year mortgages typically offer lower rates than their longer 30-year counterparts. The downside is that a 15-year loan would result in a higher monthly payment, since the repayment window is half the length.
So, should you use a 15- or 30-year fixed mortgage rates in Washington?
1. Consider the rate: On average, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages have lower interest rates than the longer 30-year loans. For example, when this article was published in March 2020, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage in Washington and nationwide was 3.36% (source: Freddie Mac). At the same time, the average rate assigned to 15-year home loans was 2.77%. It’s common to see this kind of spread between the two products. Borrowers can often secure a lower rate by choosing the shorter-term mortgage product.
2. Consider the payments: A borrower who chooses a 15-year mortgage loan instead of the more common 30-year option will end up with higher monthly payments (with all other things being equal). When there are fewer years to repay the loan, the size of the monthly payments will increase. As a result, the 30-year fixed mortgage is more popular with Washington borrowers who want to minimize their monthly payments — and that’s most borrowers.
Will you need mortgage financing to buy a home in Washington State, Idaho, Colorado, or Oregon? We can help. Sammamish Mortgage has been serving buyers across the Pacific Northwest for about 28 years. We offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and tools with flexible qualification criteria. Please contact us today with any financing-related questions you have.
There are different mortgage products available, each of which offers its own set of benefits. Since every borrower is different, it’s important to understand what the different products are in order to determine which is best. In this article, we’ll discuss 15-year fixed-rate mortgages and the pros and cons of this mortgage program.