Mortgages Are Too Risky, Consumers Say
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Even though mortgage rates remain at historically low levels , some consumers have negative attitudes towards home loans.
A new study from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling said about one in five consumers believe taking on a mortgage isn't worth the risk.
"Even if you weren't personally impacted by the housing woes from the 2008 recession, chances are you saw friends, family or coworkers who were hit with foreclosures from not being able to make mortgage payments," says Gail Cunningham, vice president of public relations at the NFCC. "They've decided the risk is too great."
The pressure to own a home helped cause the 2008 mortgage mess, as consumers took out loans they couldn't afford and didn't understand . For consumers, it's important not to jump into any major financial decision, such as buying a home, before you're ready, despite what the people around you are telling you.
You may feel tempted to jumpstart your home search on the heels of low mortgage rates, which won't last for much longer. The Federal Reserve continues to taper its bond stimulus , which has kept interest rates low for years. Upon the end of the bond stimulus, which is expected to come in October, short-term interest rates, known as the Fed funds rate, will only remain near zero until mid-2015, many analysts predict.
Still, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.14%, compared to 3.91% at the same time last year, according to Freddie Mac.
Regardless of what mortgage rates are, your personal financial situation is the only factor that dictates when you should proceed with a mortgage.
In the meantime, renting comes with plenty of benefits . "You can sit back and build up your credit score and save for a down payment on a mortgage later on," Cunningham adds.
A higher credit score will result in a lower interest rate on a mortgage, as the lender is more trusting that you'll pay back the loan on time.
Renting also offers mobility, as you can rent for shorter periods of time and not have to worry about putting your home up for sale.
"During the recession, if you lost your job but found a job in another town, it was difficult to move if you had a mortgage," Cunningham tells MainStreet.
Still, despite the importance of delaying a home purchase until your finances are in shape, 82% of survey respondents believe home ownership is a critical component of building wealth.
"I agree with this sentiment, but the recession gave us a wake-up call that owning a home isn't going to automatically build wealth," Cunningham warns.
In fact, the opposite can occur when the value of the mortgage exceeds the value of the home, a problem that is still prevalent in today's housing market.