What Is a 15 Year Conforming Mortgage?

Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks

A15-year conforming mortgage lasts for 15 years and the term "conforming" means that the mortgage value is within the limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This limit is related to the level at which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are able to purchase mortgages to add liquidity to the market and varies by the size of a house as well as the region in which it is located. For example, the upper limit of a conforming loan for a single-family home in a non-high-cost region for 2010 is $417,000.

Significance

The most popular loan product in the United States today is the 30-year fixed mortgage with the 15-year fixed in second place. While its payment is higher per month, the 15-year mortgage saves the borrower thousands in interest over the life of the loan.

Function

As with the 30-year mortage, the borrower is not required to have PMI, or private mortgage insurance--if there is a down payment of 20% or more when acquiring the loan.

Time Frame

From the closing of the mortgage until the last monthly payment, the note will last 15 full years. However, if a borrower has a mortgage with no pre-payment penalty, the mortgage can be paid off even faster with extra principal payments.

Considerations

If a borrower cannot qualify for the higher 15-year mortgage payment, he can create his own 15-year by making two extra payments per year on a 30-year mortgage.

Misconceptions

Unlike a credit card, as the balance of a mortgage is reduced, the payment does not decrease but will remain the same for the entire life of the loan.

References

About the Author

Lynn Lauren has been a professional writer since 1999, focusing on the areas of weddings, professional profiles and the banking industry. She has been published in several local magazines including "Elegant Island Weddings." Lauren has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration, both with marketing concentrations from Georgia Southern University and Mercer University, respectively.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks