Current 15-Year Mortgage Rates

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15-year, fixed-mortgage rates today

Homeowners typically choose 15-year mortgage rates to save thousands of dollars in interest charges compared with 30-year mortgages. However, a 15-year loan term comes with a larger payment, which may put the squeeze on your monthly budget and make more expensive homes unaffordable. 

The 15-year mortgages rates chart below features daily rates offered by LendingTree partners nationwide.

 

Fifteen-year mortgage rates are usually lower than the rates offered on longer-term mortgages like 30-year fixed-rate loans. Checking rates regularly is a good idea considering they change daily, and sometimes even hourly. 

How 15-year, fixed-mortgage rates are determined

Mortgage quotes displayed on LendingTree LoanExplorer℠, including loan pricing data, rates and fees, are provided by third-party data providers including, but not limited to, Mortech®, a registered trademark of Zillow; LoanXEngine, a product of Mortgage Builder Software, Inc. and LoanTek, Inc.

What is a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage?

A 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage is a home loan that you repay over a 15-year term (the term of a loan is the number of years you have to repay it). In exchange for paying off the loan faster than you would with a 30-year mortgage, you’ll have a higher mortgage payment than a longer-term loan. 

Fifteen-year mortgage rates are usually lower than longer-term rates. The shorter payoff timeline slashes thousands of dollars off your total interest bill compared with a 30-year mortgage. The table below shows the monthly payment and total interest charges on a $250,000 loan at a 2.25%, 15-year rate compared with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate of 2.75%.

 15-year mortgage rate 30-year mortgage rate
Total interest paid $44,788.15 $117,417.06
Monthly principal and interest payment $1,637.71 $1,020.60

 

The results: The total interest savings of $72,628.91 of a 15-year mortgage costs you an extra $617.11 every month. 

Are 15-year mortgage rates going down?

Interest rates may rise slightly in 2021, after dropping to record lows in 2020, according to Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist for LendingTree. However, with 30-year mortgages expected to average near 3%, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get a 15-year refinance rate under the 3% mark. However, if you’re buying, you may feel more payment pain with a shorter term: Kapfidze predicts house prices will rise 4% to 7% this year.

How to get a low 15-year mortgage rate

Because your payment is higher with a 15-year mortgage rate, it’s important to make sure you shop for the best rate. There are four simple steps you can take:

      • Spruce up your credit scores. A credit score of 740 is likely to get you the lowest rate. Keeping your credit balances at zero and paying bills on time will go a long way toward a pristine credit score. 
      • Save up for a bigger down payment. Lenders typically charge more for low down-payment loans because of the higher risk a borrower will default. Adding extra money reduces that risk and could snag you a lower rate. 
      • Shop multiple lenders. Gathering interest-rate quotes from three to five mortgage lenders could save you thousands in interest and closing costs. Rates change daily, so make sure you collect loan estimates on the same day.
      • Consider paying mortgage points. Paying a mortgage point, which equals 1% of your loan amount, may lower your rate by as much as .25%. Just make sure you’ll be in the house long enough to recoup the costs, more commonly called a “breakeven.” Your breakeven is calculated by dividing the cost of the point by the monthly savings you receive from the lower rate.

What's the difference between a 15- and 30-year mortgage?

If you’re trying to decide on 15- versus 30-year mortgage rates, there are four things to consider: 

      • How long it takes to pay the loan off
      • Monthly payment, the interest rate and the 
      • Life-of-loan interest costs

The table below provides a quick glimpse of the differences:

Comparing 15-year vs. 30-year mortgages
Loan feature 15-year, fixed mortgage rate 30-year, fixed-mortgage rate
Loan term Repaid over 15 years Repaid over 30 years
Monthly Payment Higher than 30-year Lower than 15-year
Interest rate Lower than 30-year Higher than 15-year
Interest costs Lower than 30-year Higher than 15-year

 

You should choose a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage if you: 

      • Can afford a higher payment
      • Want to pay off your mortgage faster
      • Want a quicker way to build home equity

You should choose a 30-year fixed rate mortgage if you

      • Want the lowest monthly payment possible
      • Need room in your monthly budget for other expenses or savings goals
      • Don’t want to lock yourself into a 15-year payment schedule

Pro tip: A mortgage calculator is a great tool for comparing the cost and benefits of a 15-year versus a 30-year mortgage rate. It even creates a mortgage payment schedule for you, which shows you how much principal and interest you pay every month for the term of each loan.

Pros and Cons of 15-year mortgage rates

A 15-year mortgage puts you on a faster path to a mortgage-free home, but it comes with some drawbacks versus a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

You’ll pay off your loan quicker

Your interest rate will be lower

You’ll save thousands of dollars in interest

You’re locked into a higher payment for the term of the loan

You’ll must refinance if you want to switch back to a lower monthly payment term

Your payment will eat up more of your monthly budget

Refinancing a 15-year mortgage

You can refinance an existing 15-year mortgage rate and replace it with a new lower-rate 15-year loan. The process is essentially the same as any other refinance. Your lender verifies your credit scores, income and equity to ensure you meet the minimum mortgage requirements

However, government-backed refinance loans come with some extra hoops for you to jump through to switch from a 30-year to a 15-year term. 

Conventional rate-and-term refinance. As long as you qualify for the higher payment, swapping your 30-year fixed loan for a 15-year loan should be straightforward.  Just monitor your DTI ratio with the higher payment; conventional guidelines won’t allow total monthly debt including the new mortgage that makes up over 50% of your earnings each month. 

FHA streamline refinance. Lenders approved by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) may offer the FHA streamline refinance option to homeowners with a current FHA loan. You can skip the income docs and an appraisal, but there’s a catch: To switch from a 30-year term to a 15-year mortgage, the refi rate must be lower than what you’re paying now and the new monthly payment can’t increase by more than $50. 

VA IRRRL. Short for “interest rate reduction refinance loan,” the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) IRRRL gives military borrowers with a current VA loan a simple way to refinance without documenting income or the hassle of an appraisal. However, if you flip from a long-term to mortgage to a shorter term, your payment can’t rise by 20% or more.

FAQs about 15-year mortgages

There are seven factors that impact the 15-year mortgage rate you’re offered, including:

  1. Your credit score. A higher score typically gets you a lower rate.
  2. Your down payment. Extra down payments often lead to lower rates. 
  3. Your loan amount. Smaller loan amounts typically come with higher rates. 
  4. Your home’s location. Lenders offer different rates in different states. 
  5. Your plans to live in the home. The lowest rates usually go to a primary residence. You’ll pay more for a second home or rental property interest rate. 
  6. Your cash available to pay points. If you have extra money to pay mortgage points, you can buy a lower rate.
  7. The economy. A strong or weak economy, along with Federal Reserve policies, inflation and bond yields may cause gyrations in the interest rate market.

15-year fixed rate if you can commit to a higher payment for the term of the loan. If you’re worried about your job stability or plan for an enormous expense (like a new car or a college education) you’re better off making extra payments on a 30-year mortgage to pay your mortgage off early.

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a lower initial rate for a set time. Once the “teaser” rate period ends, your rate will adjust based on the ARM terms you chose, which could cause a big jump in your monthly payment. With a fixed-rate loan, your payments are the same for the loan’s entire term.