Our experts answer readers’ home-buying questions and write unbiased product reviews (here’s how we assess mortgages). In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners; however, our opinions are our own.
Current mortgage rates
Check out the latest rates to see how today’s 15-year mortgage rates compare.
Compare 15-year mortgage rate trends over the last decade
Here are the lowest 15-year fixed mortgage rates each year, from 2012 to 2022:
During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit historic lows, and 15-year rates neared 2%. But they increased dramatically last year.
More recently, rates had been decreasing across the board in December and January, though they reversed course in February and have generally been inching up.
Average 15-year mortgage rates will likely start to fall later this year as inflation slows.
What is a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage?
Fixed-rate mortgages lock in your interest rate for the entire life of your loan, and they come in a variety of different term lengths. A 30-year is the most common term length for new mortgages, but many lenders offer 15-year terms, too.
A 15-year fixed mortgage keeps your rate the same until you either make your final payment at the end of the 15 years or you sell or refinance.
More on Mortgages:
Is a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage a good deal?
A 15-year fixed mortgage helps you save money on interest over the long term, which means it's a good deal if you're looking to keep your overall costs down. But these mortgages aren't for everyone, especially if you're looking to keep your monthly payment as low as possible.
Average 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.
The pros and cons of 15-year fixed-rate mortgages
Compare 15-year fixed-rate mortgages to 30-year fixed-rate mortgages
To see how much you could save overall with a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, take a look at this example for a $250,000 loan, using average interest rates for January 2023, according to Freddie Mac data:
|Type of mortgage||15-year fixed-rate||30-year fixed-rate|
|Total interest paid||$115,780||$305,317|
By the end of your term with the 30-year loan, you'll have paid back more than double what you initially borrowed when you add interest to your original loan amount. But with the 15-year mortgage, your total interest costs amount to less than half of the loan amount.
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.
- 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. Some lenders want to see a maximum 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 want to move in the next few years, you might prefer a different term. A 30-year fixed rate will come with lower monthly payments. An adjustable-rate mortgage could also be good — you could lock in a lower rate during the intro rate period, then move or refinance before your rate increases.
How to find personalized 15-year fixed rates
We're showing national average mortgage rates, but you can find personalized rates based on your down payment amount, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio.
Use our free mortgage calculator to see how today's 30-year rates will affect your monthly payments and long-term finances.
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 shows you the full cost of borrowing, not just the interest rate. A mortgage's APR takes into account things like points and fees paid to the lender in addition to your interest rate.
The APR gives you a better idea of how much you'll actually pay to get a mortgage.