This phone survey was commissioned by Ditech.com a mortgages company. The other issue with this survey was that they asked people about debt and other financial issues. Often, people are unaware of their financial obligations. The survey people did not confirm that people knew the answers to these questions or were telling the truth.
New consumer research suggests that some of these images are just plain wrong. A nationally representative statistical sample of 1,347 American homeowners polled by Opinion Research Corp. Of Princeton, N.J., from Sept. 22 to Sept. 26 found that while mortgage-burning parties may be out, the overwhelming majority of homeowners have plans to pay off their mortgages within specific timelines, and that a surprising chunk of them -- 25 percent -- already have.
What jumps out of the survey is the relatively sober approach most owners are taking to managing their mortgage debts. For example, 38 percent of them say they have already paid off more than 50 percent of their original home financing, including first and second mortgages and equity lines. In answer to another question, 28 percent say they expect to be fully paid off sometime during the coming 10 years.
Only 4 percent of all owners say they have no plan or expectations about paying off their mortgage -- they just haven't thought about it -- and just 6 percent expect to extinguish their debts solely by selling the property.
Debt levels in the survey were nowhere near as high as preconceptions might suggest. Just 12 percent of respondents reported first and second mortgage totals in excess of $150,000; 19 percent have $75,000 to $150,000 in unpaid home loan debt; and 30 percent have less than $75,000 outstanding. Even in California, the survey found that slightly more than 30 percent of owners are carrying $150,000 or more in mortgage debt.
Those numbers don't resemble the irresponsible credit junkies portrayed by some critics and housing-bust doomsayers. Yet the findings don't surprise analysts who keep a close eye on household credit patterns, delinquency rates, foreclosures and debt management.
Whatever they choose, if Ditech's survey findings are correct, they won't be doing it casually. As Fishbein put it, "people take their [mortgage] responsibilities very seriously." That's why delinquency and foreclosure rates remain relatively low, despite record-setting housing prices. The sky-is-falling pundits and sages who think otherwise probably aren't talking to America's homeownersAm I a 'sky-is-falling pundit'? I do opine that there will be significant price declines in the bubble markets and that there will be a recession starting next year.