Is it possible to get a 15-year fixed rate mortgage?

They have been popular in other countries for some time, and now 15 year fixed rate mortgages are available in the UK.

If you like the peace of mind of facing no surprise interest rate hikes, and are confident you aren’t going to move house, then a 15 year fixed rate mortgage could be good option for you to consider.

Traditionally, UK lenders only offered fixed term mortgages of up to 10 years, but 2019 saw several providers introduce 15 year deals for the first time.

Virgin Money was the first to debut its range of products for a 15 year term, and currently offers residential mortgages over this timeframe for loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of up to 90%.

Yorkshire Building Society then followed suit with its own 15 year fixed rate mortgages, and will also consider lending to would-be-buyers who are looking at LTVs of up to 90%.

Think carefully before securing debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

What is a 15-year fixed rate mortgage?

Fixed rate mortgages lock in the interest rate you pay over the duration of the fixed term. As you might expect, with a 15-year fixed rate mortgage that term is 15 years.

The advantage of this is that no matter what happens to external interest rates, the rate on your mortgage – and your monthly repayments – will remain the same for those 15 years. This means there’s no need to worry about rate rises and you’ll know exactly how much to set aside for your mortgage repayments for the next 15 years.

This can make 15-year fixed rate mortgages a great choice for those on a budget or those who wouldn’t be able to afford higher monthly repayments.

The downside is that interest rates on long-term fixed rate deals can be higher than on shorter-term or variable deals, and if you need to get out of your deal early, you’ll usually need to pay a hefty early repayment charge.

Do 15-year fixed rate mortgages exist in the UK?

Traditionally, UK lenders only offered fixed term mortgages of up to 10 years. However, in 2019, a handful of lenders started to introduce 15-year deals on to the market.

Virgin Money was the first to debut its range of products for a 15-year term, and currently offers residential mortgages over this timeframe for loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of up to 95%.

Yorkshire Building Society has also offered 15-year fixed rate mortgages in the past, but these are not currently available.

However, while few lenders offer 15-year fixed rate deals at the moment, the mortgage market is continually changing and it’s likely we’ll see more deals appear in the future.

How does a 15-year fixed rate mortgage work?

Banks usually set their mortgage rates based on movements in the BoE base rate and other economic factors. The base rate is usually voted on by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) eight times a year, although the rate won’t necessarily change each time.

Variable rate mortgages, such as trackers, tend to track the base rate closely. This means that if the base rate falls, so will your mortgage rate, but if the base rate rises, your mortgage rate will also increase, along with your monthly repayments.

Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, protect borrowers from rising interest rates. You lock in a rate with the lender, and for the duration of that term (in this case, 15 years), your rate remains the same. So even if the base rate rises, there will be no change to your mortgage rate or your monthly repayments.

What’s more, because 15-year fixed rate deals last for over a decade, you won’t need to remortgage as often, potentially saving yourself hundreds of pounds in remortgage costs.

How do fixed rate mortgages work?

Fixed rate mortgages lock in the interest rate you pay over the duration of the fixed term. The result is that you’ll know exactly what your monthly repayment will be for the entirety of the fixed term, regardless of whether the Bank of England (BoE) changes interest rates or not.

This way you can manage your finances and know how much you’ll have left over to put into savings or use for other purposes like going on holiday.

While a fixed rate mortgage will provide certainty on what your monthly mortgage outgoings will be, do bear in mind that BoE interest rates could go down as well as up during your fixed term, but your payments will always remain the same.

Fixed rate mortgages also tend to be more expensive the longer you tie your fixed in rate for, so you’ll need to weigh this up when deciding what type of mortgage you want to apply for.

Fixed rate mortgages also tend to have fewer extra features, such as options to lower your interest payments by using on offset account. However, this can vary from lender to lender.

Pros and cons of a 15 year-fixed rate mortgage

Pros

  • Easier to budget. With a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll know exactly how much your mortgage repayments will be for the next 15 years, so there’s no need to worry about interest rate rises.
  • Lower remortgaging costs. You won’t need to remortgage as often with a 15-year deal, which means you’ll save on remortgaging costs.
  • Option to overpay. Many fixed rate mortgage deals let you make overpayments, typically up to 10% a year.

Cons

  • Higher interest rates. 15-year fixed rate mortgages usually have higher rates of interest compared to two, three or five-year deals.
  • No benefit if rates fall. A 15-year deal locks you in for a long time and if interest rates fall during that time, you won’t see any reduction in your mortgage repayments.
  • High early repayment charges. If you need to get out of your mortgage deal early, fees can be expensive.
  • Availability is limited. Only a handful of providers offer 15-year deals.

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a mortgage that protects you against rate rises for several years, a 15-year fixed rate deal might be worth considering.

However, your options will be limited as 15-year fixed rate mortgages are harder to come by, and interest charges will also be higher compared to shorter-term deals. A 15-year mortgage is also only suitable for those who are confident they won’t need to move home or remortgage during that time as early repayment charges are expensive.

Frequently asked questions about fixed rate mortgages

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