http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2007/12/07/what-do-americans-think-about-the-mortgage-industry


Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - December 7, 2007

What do Americans think about the mortgage industry?

Survey finds only 5% worried about mortgage payments

by Jeb Bing

A new survey of public sentiment by the National Association of Realtors marked some distinct changes in the way people feel about the mortgage industry and a potential response by the government to problems engulfing the market.

The 2007 National Housing Pulse Survey was conducted by the NAR, which polled 1,000 adults living in the United States in October.

"The NAR study confirms the thinking of most reasonable folks in the mortgage and real estate industry, that there is a correction happening, but there is not much to worry about," said Dave Walden, a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist with Diversified Capital Funding of Pleasanton.

The survey found that only 5 percent of respondents are very or fairly worried about being able to make their mortgage payments over the next year.

While 53 percent of those with fixed-rate mortgages feel little or no strain, more than half of those with variable-rate mortgages say they do feel a significant or slight strain.

Almost nine out of 10 consumers still believe that buying a home is a good financial decision, and 59 percent of respondents also agree that now is a good time to buy a home.

"Owning a home continues to be a good, long-term investment, and most consumers understand that," said NAR President Pat V. Combs.

"This new survey clearly shows that people believe in the value of homeownership and know that owning a home is one of the best ways for most families to build a nest egg."

While general sentiment about mortgages remains fairly upbeat, people have become increasingly critical of the mortgage process.

Americans are more concerned about obtaining a mortgage and having enough money for down payment and closing costs than they have been in five years of polling.

Almost six in 10 respondents say it's hard for people in their area to obtain a fair and affordable mortgage.

More than eight in 10 say having enough money for down payment and closing costs are obstacles for home buyers in their area, up 17 percent from a 2005 survey.

Roughly 63 percent also think the mortgage approval process is an obstacle, up 13 percent since 2005.

Meanwhile, 32 percent of those surveyed feel the rate of foreclosures in their area to have increased over the past year, 39 percent report the rate has remained about the same.

About 6 percent believe the foreclosure rate has actually decreased in their area.

About 38 percent of respondents said foreclosures were a very big or moderate problem, but 51 percent said foreclosures were only a slight problem or not one at all.

In the wake of the rising foreclosures and problems with predatory lending, Americans are split on the need for more federal government oversight.

Approximately 47 percent believe the federal government should take a more active role, while 45 percent believe oversight should be a matter for the private sector.

Almost seven in 10 survey respondents are concerned about the cost of housing in their area.

For Americans, the lack of affordable housing continues to be a greater concern than jobs, crime or terrorism.

It is time for the media to start the trend toward the comeback of a great market and not print the negative information," Walden said. "Of course, the (Pleasanton) Weekly has always done its best to tell the truth but other local newspapers and many national newspapers along with radio and television have been actually, in my opinion, raising the public's concerns far more than is necessary."

Comments

Posted by Ann, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2007 at 12:28 am

Mr. Walden and the rest of the housing cheerleaders in the real estate & mortgage industries did not complain when the media was reporting giddily on the rapid rise in housing prices. Those previous reports whipped buyers into frenzies of overbidding, encouraged speculators and helped create unsustainably high home prices. I am glad the media is coming round to the truth, and no, I don't mean Pleasanton Weekly's idea of "truth". The Pleasanton Weekly is a shameless example of real estate promotion masquerading as journalism. For a more truthful perspective on real estate, read the housing bubble blogs: fewer agendas and more facts.


Posted by local resident, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Dec 7, 2007 at 8:21 am

Mr. Walden,

Have you considered a career change? If the federal government hasn't done enough to bail out your industry, and now you want a bailout from the media, maybe its time to do something else. The housing industry is a train wreck, and people who pushed these "creative" loans over the last few years caused it.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 7, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Creative financing is all about duping desperate homebuyers. The jig is up and it's time for many former homeowners to check into the roach motel.

I'm more interested in issues of immigration, legal & illegal. Not to worry thought folks re: housing. I hear that in San Francisco even illegal immigrants get free housing!


Posted by Amber, a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Dec 11, 2007 at 9:45 am

I didn't read the article, but to answer the head lining questions "What do Americans think about the mortgage industry?" I think that answer depends on which American you ask and where they are located. An American's opinion in the Central Valley here in California is going to be completely different than one in S.F.


Posted by David Walden, a resident of Verona
on Dec 14, 2007 at 1:07 pm

In California the average appreciation rate for the last 44 years has been 9.36%. For a few years we have seen appreciation of 18-20% because buyers demanded homes and sellers demanded their price in the growing market. You cannot have that kind of appreciation without a correction. We are in a correction.

To understand the mortgage market, you have to understand that we all own those mortgages that are good and those going bad. All of your mutual funds, 401K investments and your bond portfolios contain mortgage backed securities which are our mortgages. Our demand for a better rate of return on our investments was fueled by the increasing home prices that few saw ending. The sellers who sold demanded more money and the buyers who bought saw their future in the increasing value of their future home. Everyone leveraged from Wall Street, to the lenders to the homebuyers. It had to have a correction.

Yes there have been some folks who took advantage - that happens in every industry. By and large though, most just thought that the unparalleled growth in the real estate industry would not stop and just kept taking. If you sold your home during this period, you took. If you were a buyer, you believed that you would be a taker in the future when you sold.

We hit a perfect tsunami with Wall Street stopped purchasing loans from lenders who had been promised the purchase. Lenders, who were working from a line of credit instead of depositor funds, were forced out of business when they could sell the loans to meet their line. Mortgage brokers and bankers offered programs by lenders suggesting that they find borrowers to lend the money to and borrowers who thought that they could make a buck on the future value of the home they were purchasing even though they knew their family income could not support the debt.

I take shots at the media because the media is creating more of an uproar than is necessary in order to capture eyes for the advertisers. 14% of the mortgages in this country according to CNBC are sub-prime and about 15% of those are having issues. This small percentage (about 2%), although unfortunate, is not the end of the economic world as we know it. The media is in business and they report anything sensational to sell their wares. Their sensationalizm whether good or bad is what drives their business. It also affects the public with their actions and the public has stopped purchasing homes in this time when the market is low and they should be making the investment.

Yes we are in a correction. No I am not considering changing careers. I work with families and their mortgage, likely the largest debt they will ever have in their lives and help them integrate it into their long and short term financial plans. My career is very rewarding and I am proud of how I handle my clients and help them manage that debt. I would not have been voted the best mortgage broker in the Tri-Valley by the readers of the Tri Valley Herald in 2006 if I did not care.


Posted by Homeowner, a resident of Ironwood
on Dec 28, 2007 at 4:36 pm

I am sure Mr. Walden works hard to provide his clients solid advice and guidance as they make what is frequently the biggest investment of their lives. Unfortunately, many of his brethren do not. They make money by churning through loans, without regard to future implications. We are now paying the price.

But like most realtors and mortage professionals, he is protraying a different reality to suit his best interests and income. It is not accurate to paint current mortgage issues as a subprime only, small percentage (2%) problem. For example, I know several Pleasanton families with prime or Alt-A loans that they cannot afford when they reset in a year or two.

Did you see the recent home sales news? Home sales down 9% from October to November, according to the Commerce Department this week.

Did you see the National Association of Realtors quote? "As the housing market recovers from its correction, existing-home sales should be rising gradually during 2007..." Oh wait, that was one year ago today, December 28, 2006. Yeah, I guess that didn't work out too well.

Who perverts the data and headlines to change market perception?


Posted by MoneyTalks, a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 28, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Also to answer the title question…

We just witnessed a loan go through with a buyers current residence being defined as income property so they could qualify for a new home loan. With hopes they could sell the home during close of new home. Other tricks of the trade as well… Bad credit no credit no problem come to San Ramon and look at our overstock.

Wonder what would happen if a private seller tried this with a lender!


Posted by Honesty, a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 2:54 am


Many realtors tell people what they want to hear- A great realtor will help you understand and accept reality.

I really appreciate realtors who are honest about market conditions and are confident enough to tell the seller the cold hard truth- not that I like the cold hard truth. Years ago a realtor saved me a bundle on an investment property I owned by telling me to get out and buy back after the considerable drop he expected. I sold just after the peak. I made a pretty penny on the property - and would have lost my entire profit had I held onto it. I got out just in time before the cliff drop - saved myself a fortune and bought another place with the profit I held onto once the market flattened out (about 7 yrs). The stubborn sellers are going to learn the hard way waiting for the market to return. Many people I know have bought multiple properties in several locales and are up to their ears in mortgage debt. While the last year has been busy for vacation rental properties - that should cool down with the coming recession and then one is left with a money sucking liability.


Posted by Honesty, a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 2:54 am

Many realtors tell people what they want to hear- A great realtor will help you understand and accept reality.

I really appreciate realtors who are honest about market conditions and are confident enough to tell the seller the cold hard truth- not that I like the cold hard truth. Years ago a realtor saved me a bundle on an investment property I owned by telling me to get out and buy back after the considerable drop he expected. I sold just after the peak. I made a pretty penny on the property - and would have lost my entire profit had I held onto it. I got out just in time before the cliff drop - saved myself a fortune and bought another place with the profit I held onto once the market flattened out (about 7 yrs). The stubborn sellers are going to learn the hard way waiting for the market to return. Many people I know have bought multiple properties in several locales and are up to their ears in mortgage debt. While the last year has been busy for vacation rental properties - that should cool down with the coming recession and then one is left with a money sucking liability.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:18 am

I can define my view the overall Mortgage Industry in one word:

ENRON