A fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), often referred to as a “vanilla wafer” mortgage loan, is a fully amortizing mortgage loan where the interest rate on the note remains the same through the term of the loan, as opposed to loans where the interest rate may adjust or “float”. As a result, payment amounts and the duration of the loan are fixed and the person who is responsible for paying back the loan benefits from a consistent, single payment and the stuff to plan a budget based on this fixed cost.

Other forms of mortgage loans include interest only mortgage, graduated payment mortgage, variable rate (including adjustable rate mortgages and tracker mortgages), negative amortization mortgage, and balloon payment mortgage. Unlike many other loan types, FRM interest payments and loan duration is fixed from beginning to end.

Fixed-rate mortgages are characterized by amount of loan, interest rate, compounding frequency, and duration. With these values, the monthly repayments can be calculated.

One of the most utilized fixed rate mortgage is the 15 year fixed rate mortgage:
15-year fixed rate mortgages have become increasingly more popular over the last few years. This loans allows you to own your home free and clear in 15 years. For many people a goal in their financial plan is to be free of all mortgage obligations prior to assuming the debt of their children’s college education. For others the 15 year fixed rate mortgage charts a financial path that has their mortgage paid in full prior to retirement. For applicants who can afford and qualify for the higher mortgage payment a 15 year fixed rate mortgage may be a good option for you.

Unlike adjustable rate mortgages (ARM), fixed-rate mortgages are not tied to an index. Instead, the interest rate is set (or “fixed”) in advance to an advertised rate, usually in increments of 1/4 or 1/8 percent.

The fixed monthly payment for a fixed-rate mortgage is the amount paid by the borrower every month that ensures that the loan is paid off in full with interest at the end of its term.

Fixed rate mortgages are usually more expensive than adjustable rate mortgages. Due to the inherent interest rate risk, long-term fixed rate loans will tend to be at a higher interest rate than short-term loans. The relationship between interest rates for short and long-term loans is represented by the yield curve, which generally slopes upward (longer terms are more expensive). The opposite circumstance is known as an inverted yield curve and occurs less often.

The fact that a fixed rate mortgage has a higher starting interest rate does not indicate that this is a worse form of borrowing compared to the adjustable rate mortgages. If interest rates rise, the ARM cost will be higher while the FRM will remain the same. In effect, the lender has agreed to take the interest rate risk on a fixed-rate loan. Some studies  have shown that the majority of borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages save money in the long term, but that some borrowers pay more. The price of potentially saving money, in other words, is balanced by the risk of potentially higher costs. In each case, a choice would need to be made based upon the loan term, the current interest rate, and the likelihood that the rate will increase or decrease during the life of the loan.

Advantages of the 15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage:
-Build equity in your home faster.
-Monthly payment stays the same for the term of the loan.
-The rate of interest is lower vs. the traditional 30 year fixed rate loan.
-Borrowers pay less interest vs. the traditional 30 year fixed rate loan.
-Pay any or the entire principal at any time without penalty.

The United States Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helped develop and standardize the fixed rate mortgage as an alternative to the balloon payment mortgage by insuring them and by doing so helped the mortgage design garner usage. Because of the large payment at the end of the loan, refinancing risk resulted in widespread foreclosures. It was the first mortgage loan that was fully amortized (fully paid at the end of the loan) precluding successive loans, and had fixed interest rates and payments.

Fixed-rate mortgages are the most classic form of loan for home and product purchasing in the United States. The most common terms are 15-year and 30-year mortgages, but shorter terms are available, and 40-year and 50-year mortgages are now available (common in areas with high priced housing, where even a 30-year term leaves the mortgage amount out of reach of the average family).

Outside the United States, fixed-rate mortgages are less popular, and in some countries, true fixed-rate mortgages are not available except for shorter-term loans. For example, in Canada the longest term for which a mortgage rate can be fixed is typically no more than ten years, while mortgage maturities are commonly 25 years. The mortgage industry of the United Kingdom has traditionally been dominated by building societies, whose raised funds must be at least 50% deposits, so lenders prefer variable-rate mortgages to fixed-rate mortgages to reduce asset-liability mismatch due to interest rate risk. Lenders, in turn, influence consumer decisions which already prefer lower initial monthly payments.