Why are mortgage loan interest rates higher for fixed rate mortgages held for longer periods of time?

I am sorry if this sounds like a dumb question, but I don’t understand. For example, why are 30 year fixed mortgage rates the highest mortgage rates, vs say a 15, and why are 15 year fixed rate mortgages higher than adjustable rate mortgages ? It seems that lending institutions are taking greater risk with a ARM vs. a Fixed rate mortgage and they should pay a higher rate (For example, compared this situation to a new car loan vs a used car loan–the risk is higher on a used car loan ?? ??
I can understand a fixed rate loan of 30 higher than a 15 –greater risk of default from the borrower, BUT I still don’t get the ARM being so low.

I got an offer for a 285,000 dollar townhouse in Los Angeles Suburb. Its brand new and pretty nice. But the interest of the loan is 5.5 around there. Do you think this is too much?

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