August 24, 2014

Fed household survey reveals mortgage concerns, education debt

Just over half of the respondents to a Federal Reserve survey taken last September were confident in their ability to obtain a mortgage if they were to apply, according to data published in the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households report.

The survey collected data from more than 4,100 people from Sept. 17-Oct. 4, 2013. The report provides "a snapshot of the self-perceived financial and economic well-being of U.S. households and the issues they face," according to the Fed's statement on the report released Thursday. Numerous topics are addressed within the report, including housing and living arrangements; credit access and behavior; education and student loan debt; savings; retirement; and health expenses.

Of note in the Fed's survey report:

  • Homeowners' outlooks for their local housing markets were generally positive; 26 percent of respondents expect an increase in values of 5 percent or less, and 14 percent expect an increase in values of greater than 5 percent.
  • The inability to afford the necessary down payment (45 percent) and the inability to qualify for a mortgage (29 percent) were the most common reasons cited by renters for renting rather than owning a home.
  • Perceived credit availability for some remains low. Thirty-one percent of respondents had applied for some type of credit in the past 12 months, while one-third of those who applied for credit were turned down or given less credit than they applied for.
  • Regarding education debt, 24 percent reported having debt of some kind with the average amount of all education debt at $27,840 with a median of $15,000.

Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president and chief economist, discussed attitudes about home ownership and affordability during NAFCU's Annual Conference and Solutions Expo in Las Vegas.