Current mortgage and refinance rates
Conventional rates from Money.com; government-backed rates from RedVentures. Current as of September 13, 2021.
What is today’s 15-year fixed mortgage rate?
As of September 13, the national average 15-year fixed mortgage rate is 2.35%. The 15-year fixed refinance rate is 2.46%.
15-year mortgage rates over the last decade
Here are the lowest 15-year fixed mortgage rates each year, from 2011 to 2020:
Today, 15-year rates are better than the lowest rates over the last decade. If your finances are strong enough to secure a low rate, it could be a good time to get a mortgage.
What is a 15-year fixed mortgage?
When you buy a home, you choose between two basic types of mortgages: a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage.
A fixed-rate mortgage locks in your interest rate for the entire life of your loan. An adjustable-rate mortgage keeps your rate the same for the first few years, then changes it periodically, usually once per year.
When you choose a fixed mortgage, you select the term length. A 30-year is the most common term length for new mortgages, but most lenders offer 15-year terms, too.
A 15-year fixed mortgage keeps your rate the same for all 15 years, until you’ve completely paid off your mortgage. If mortgage rates in the US trend upward or downward during those 15 years, you won’t be affected. Whereas if you had chosen an adjustable-rate mortgage, your rate would go up or down every year based on the economy.
More on Mortgages:
Is a 15-year fixed mortgage a good deal?
A 15-year fixed mortgage is a good deal overall right now, but there are still things to consider.
In general, a fixed-rate mortgage is the better financial choice than an adjustable-rate mortgage. Mortgage rates are at all-time lows, so there’s a good chance your adjustable rate would increase down the road. But you have the chance to lock in a super low rate for the entire life of your loan with a fixed-rate mortgage.
The 15-year rates are lower than 30-year rates, because you’re signing up for a shorter term. That’s the general rule: The shorter your fixed-rate term, the lower the rate. You’ll also pay less in interest over the years with a shorter term, because you’ll repay the mortgage sooner.
But your monthly payments will be higher with a 15-year mortgage than with a 30-year mortgage. You’re paying off the same amount in half the time, so you’ll pay more each month.
How to get a good 15-year fixed mortgage rate
Lenders take your finances into consideration when determining an interest rate. The better your financial situation is, the lower your rate will be.
Lenders look at three main factors: down payment, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio.
- Down payment: Depending on which type of mortgage you take out, a lender might require anywhere from 0% to 20% for a down payment. But the more you have for a down payment, the lower your rate will likely be. If you can provide more than the minimum, you could snag a better rate.
- Credit score: Many mortgages require at least a 620 credit score, and an FHA loan lets you get a mortgage with a 580 score. But if you can get your score above the minimum requirement, you’ll probably land a better interest rate. To improve your score, try making payments on time, paying down debts, and letting your credit age.
- Debt-to-income ratio: Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month in relation to your monthly income. Most lenders want to see a minimum DTI ratio of 36%, but you can get a lower mortgage rate with a lower ratio. To decrease your DTI ratio, you either need to pay down debts or consider ways to increase your income.
You should be able to get a low 15-year fixed rate with a sizeable down payment, excellent credit score, and low DTI ratio.
Is a 15-year fixed mortgage a good fit for you?
You might like a 15-year fixed mortgage if you plan to stay in your home for a long time and want to be aggressive about paying off your mortgage.
If you plan to move in the next few years, you’ll probably prefer a 30-year term instead, because monthly payments will be lower. But with a 15-year fixed mortgage, you can pay off the money in half the time and enjoy living mortgage-free 15 years sooner.
A 15-year fixed mortgage could be a good idea if you can comfortably afford higher mortgage payments. If making bigger payments would be a financial stretch, you may benefit from choosing a longer term so you’ll pay less each month.
How to find personalized 15-year fixed rates
We’re showing today’s average mortgage rates, but you can find personalized rates based on your down payment amount, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio.
If you’re a little further along in the homebuying process, then you can speak with multiple lenders to receive personalized rates to compare and contrast rates before choosing a lender.
The pros and cons of 15-year fixed mortgages
What’s the difference between a mortgage interest rate and APR?
When searching for rates, you’ll probably see two percentages pop up: interest rate percentage and annual percentage rate (APR).
The interest rate is the rate the lender charges you for taking out a mortgage.
The APR takes the rest of your house payments into consideration, such as private mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, and property taxes.
The APR gives you a better idea of how much you’ll actually pay on your home.