Making Seattle Homeownership More Affordable With a 30-Year Mortgage

October 11, 2022
Last updated:
October 11, 2022
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The real estate market in and around Seattle, Washington has gotten much more expensive over the past few years. According to the latest data, the median home value for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area reached $770,000 in late 2022. That’s a significant increase from where we were just five years ago.

As a result of this trend, many home buyers in Seattle look for ways to minimize their monthly housing costs. These borrowers are more concerned with having a low monthly payment, and less concerned with total interest costs paid over time.

One way to reduce your monthly mortgage payments is to spread them out over a longer period of time. The popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage allows you to do exactly that. Many Seattle-area home buyers use the 30-year loan option to reduce their monthly payments, thereby making homeownership more affordable.

Today, we’ll compare the 30-year mortgage to the shorter 15-year option, to see just how much lower the monthly payments could be.

Meet America’s Favorite Mortgage Option

When it comes to mortgage loans, home buyers in Seattle have many different options to choose from. One of those choices has to do with the repayment term. The “term” is how long you have to repay the loan.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is by far the most popular financing option in Seattle and nationwide. As its name suggests, this type of loan offers a 30-year term along with a fixed interest rate. This means that (A) you have 30 years to repay it, and (B) your mortgage rates will never change during that time.

Borrowers can choose from other term lengths as well. For instance, the 15-year fixed is another popular mortgage option in the Seattle area. There are also short-term adjustable-rate loans, such as the 5-year ARM.

But for those home buyers who want to make Seattle homeownership more affordable over the long term, the 30-year fixed is usually the better option.

By spreading their monthly payments out over a longer term, Seattle-area homeowners can reduce the size of those payments. You know that already. But you might not realize just how much you could shrink your monthly payments by using a 30-year fixed mortgage, versus the 15-year option. So let’s run the numbers.

Seattle Mortgage Rates

Making Seattle Homeownership More Affordable

To demonstrate the benefits of the longer-term mortgage, we did a comparison using average home prices and mortgage rates as of fall 2022. At that time, the median home value for the Seattle metro area was around $770,000.

The average nationwide mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed home loan was 6.6%, while the average rate for the shorter-term 15-year fixed was 5.9%.

Entering those figures into a mortgage payment calculator (while factoring for a 10% down payment with mortgage insurance and taxes) gave us the following results:

  • 30-year fixed: $5,361 per month
  • 15-year fixed: $6,746 per month

This shows why the 30-year fixed mortgage is so popular among Seattle-area home buyers. It can make homeownership more affordable, which is especially important in a pricey market.

Granted, there are many factors that can determine the size of a homeowner’s monthly payment. So we shouldn’t focus too much on the exact numbers shown above. The point is that a 30-year fixed mortgage can result in a much smaller monthly payment, when compared to the shorter-term home loan.

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A Higher Rate, But a Smaller Monthly Payment

On average, 30-year mortgages tend to have higher interest rates than the 15-year fixed. You can see this by reviewing the nationwide survey published each month by the mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

But even with a higher interest rate, the 30-year loan can still bring a lower monthly payment for Seattle homeowners. By extension, it makes homeownership more affordable as well.

This is just one example of choosing the right type of mortgage loan for the right situation. All home loans have their own unique features and advantages. The key is to choose the one that best supports your long-term goals.

What’s more important to you? Do you put a priority on having a smaller monthly payment from day one? Are you less concerned with the total amount of interest paid over time? If so, the 30-year fixed mortgage loan might be the best option for you.

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