What do Americans think about the mortgage industry?
Survey finds only 5% worried about mortgage payments
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."