What Is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage?

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 A "fixed-rate mortgage" is a home loan with a fixed interest rate for the duration of the loan term. This means that the interest rate on the mortgage remains constant throughout its duration. Fixed-rate mortgages are popular among consumers who want to know their monthly payment in advance.

What Is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage?

A fixed-rate mortgage is a home loan with a fixed interest rate for the time duration of the loan.

Once the interest rate is locked in, it does not fluctuate based on market conditions.

Borrowers who desire predictability and/or who hold real estate for an extended period of time favor fixed-rate mortgages.

Most fixed-rate mortgages are mortied loans.

In contrast to fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages feature fluctuating interest rates throughout the loan's term.

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How a Fixed-Rate Mortgage Works

There are a variety of mortgage products on the market, but they can be broken down into two categories: variable-rate loans and fixed-rate loans. With variable-rate loans, the interest rate is established above a predetermined benchmark and then fluctuates over time.

Fixed-rate mortgages, on the other hand, carry a constant interest rate for the duration of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages, unlike variable- and adjustable-rate mortgages, do not fluctuate with market conditions. Therefore, the interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage remains constant regardless of whether interest rates increase or decrease.

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Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are a cross between loans with fixed and variable interest rates. Typically, an initial interest rate is fixed for a number of years. Following that, the interest rate is reset periodically, annually or even monthly.

The majority of homebuyers with a long-term perspective lock in an interest rate with a fixed-rate mortgage. These mortgage products are preferred because they are more predictable. In short, borrowers are aware of the monthly payment amount, so there are no surprises.

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Fixed-Rate Mortgage Terms

The mortgage term is essentially the duration of the loan, or how long you must make payments.

In the United States, terms for fixed-rate mortgages can range from 10 to 30 years, with the most common increments being 10, 15, 20, and 30 years. The most popular term option is thirty years, followed by fifteen years.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the preferred product for nearly 90 percent of homeowners today.

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How to Calculate Costs for Fixed-Rate Mortgages

The actual amount of interest paid on fixed-rate mortgages varies based on the loan's amortization period (that is, how long the payments are spread out for). While the mortgage's interest rate and monthly payment amounts remain the same, the way in which your money is applied changes. In the early stages of loan repayment, borrowers pay a greater proportion of their payments toward interest; as time passes, this proportion shifts to principal repayment.

Consequently, the mortgage term is relevant when calculating mortgage costs. The fundamental rule of thumb: The longer the term, the higher the interest rate. A mortgage holder with a 15-year term, for instance, will pay less in interest than one with a 30-year term and a fixed interest rate.

Number crunching can be somewhat complicated: To determine the exact cost of a fixed-rate mortgage or to compare two mortgages, it is easiest to use an online mortgage calculator.

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You enter a few details—typically, the home's price, down payment, loan terms, and interest rate—press a button, and the calculator calculates your monthly payments. Some calculators will show you how much goes to interest, principal, and (if you so choose) property taxes; they will also display an amortization schedule that illustrates how these amounts change over time.

There is a standard formula for manually calculating your monthly mortgage payment if you enjoy math.

M = P [ i(1 + i)^n ] / [ (1 + i)^n – 1]


M = Monthly fee

P=Principal loan amount (Borrowed amount)

i=Monthly rate of interest

n=The number of months needed to pay back the loan.

To calculate the monthly mortgage payment ("M"), enter the principal ("P"), the monthly interest rate I and the number of months ("n") into the equation.

If you want to calculate only the mortgage interest, here is a quick formula:

Monthly interest = (loan balance X interest rate) / 12 

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Special Considerations

There are instances in which non-amortizing loans also have fixed interest rates, despite the fact that amortizing loans are the norm.

Amortized Loans

A mortgage loan with an amortized fixed interest rate is one of the most common types offered by lenders. These loans have fixed interest rates and consistent installment payments over the life of the loan. The lender must generate a basis amortization schedule for a fixed-rate, amortizing mortgage loan.

When a loan is issued, it is simple to calculate an amortization schedule with a fixed interest rate. Because the interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage does not change with each installment payment, this is the case. This enables the lender to create a payment schedule with constant payments throughout the loan's life.

As the loan matures, the amortization schedule calls for the borrower to pay a greater proportion of principal than interest with each payment. In contrast, a borrower with a variable-rate mortgage must contend with loan payment amounts that fluctuate with interest rate changes.

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Non-Amortized Loans

Non-amortized loans can also be issued as fixed-rate mortgages. These are typically known as loans with a balloon payment or interest-only loans. These alternative loans with fixed interest rates can be structured with some latitude by the lender.

A common structure for balloon payment loans is to charge deferred interest on an annual basis. This necessitates annual interest calculations based on the borrower's annual interest rate. The interest is then deferred and added to the loan's final balloon payment.

In a fixed-rate interest-only loan, the borrower pays only the interest on a regular basis. These loans typically carry a fixed monthly interest rate. Borrowers make monthly interest payments, with no principal payment due until a specified date.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages vs. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

Typically, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) with both fixed- and variable-rate components are issued as mortised loans with fixed monthly payments over the life of the loan. They require a fixed interest rate for the first few years of the loan and then a variable rate thereafter.

Variable interest rates on a portion of the loan can make amortization schedules slightly more complicated for these loans. Thus, investors can anticipate variable payment amounts as opposed to the consistent payments associated with a fixed-rate loan.

Individuals who do not mind the unpredictability of rising and falling interest rates favour ARMs. Borrowers who anticipate refinancing or who will not hold the property for an extended period of time tend to favour ARMs. These borrowers typically wager on future rate declines. If interest rates fall, a borrower's interest rate will decrease over time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Fixed-Rate Mortgage

In fixed-rate mortgage loans, both borrowers and lenders face diverse risks. Typically, these risks revolve around the interest rate environment. When interest rates rise, the risk associated with a fixed-rate mortgage decreases for the borrower and increases for the lender.

Typically, borrowers seek to lock in lower interest rates to save money over time. When interest rates rise, a borrower's payment remains lower than current market conditions. A lending bank, on the other hand, does not earn as much as it could from the prevailing higher interest rates. It foregoes profits from issuing fixed-rate mortgages that could have yielded higher interest over time in a variable-rate scenario.

In a market where interest rates are falling, the opposite is true. Current market conditions necessitate that borrowers pay less for their mortgages than they do. Lenders earn greater profits on their fixed-rate mortgages than if they were to issue fixed-rate mortgages in the current market.

Borrowers can refinance their fixed-rate mortgages at current rates, if those rates are lower, but they must pay substantial fees.

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