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North Texans Give Mortgage Defaults the Evil Eye
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (8/7/13)--North Texans overwhelmingly disapprove of consumers who default on their mortgage, according to  a survey of homeowners by Texas Trust CU, Mansfield, Texas.
In the survey of more than 2,700 homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, respondents were asked whether it is justified for someone to stop paying their mortgage if they decide their home is worth less than they owe, or if they are having financial problems.
"People clearly have a deep sense of obligation when it comes to the financial commitment they have made to their mortgage lender," said Richard Whitman, Texas Trust CU vice president of mortgage lending.
"We've all heard stories about people who walk away from an underwater house or who decide to balance their household budget by simply cutting out mortgage payments," Whitman added. "The positive feedback from this survey is that almost everyone agrees that's wrong."
About 97% of homeowners said stopping mortgage payments is not justified because of an "underwater" valuation on their home. In the case of financial difficulties, 94% said that those problems would not justify halting mortgage payments.
Other findings in the survey include:
  • Most people surveyed see the housing market improving. More than three out of five--61%--believe their home has increased in value in the past year, while 39% didn't think so.
  • About 88% of surveyed homeowners with mortgages are paying interest rates of 3% to 8%. About 9% of homeowners have loans with interest rates below 3%, but 3% are burdened by loans with interest rates of 9% or higher.
  • Roughly 60% of homeowners are paying, or have paid, extra toward the principal on their loans, to reduce the loan principal and the total amount of loan interest, and to shorten the term of the loan. Of those, 46% said they make such payments whenever they have some extra money, while 39% add to their payment each month. Another 9% make two payments each month, while 6% add extra to their payment once a year.
  • About 37% of homeowners with a mortgage said they have refinanced within the past five years. Of the 63% who haven't refinanced, the leading reasons they cited as to why they haven't were that they already have a good interest rate, they can't afford closing costs, they have other personal debt to deal with, and they just don't see the benefit.
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