When owners of a primary residence or rental real estate were asked how concerned they are about a real estate crash within the next six months that will have a major impact on their personal financial situation, 14 percent said they are “very concerned” and 4 percent said they are “extremely concerned,” according to a survey of 1,000 investors.

The survey, conducted by Amplitude Research in mid-December for AFA Financial Group LLC, a securities broker-dealer firm, also found that television and radio financial hosts received the lowest rating for ethics and trustworthiness among professions related to providing financial advice to individual investors, while certified public accountants and certified financial planners received the highest ratings.

Survey participants were asked to rate the level of ethics and trustworthiness of 11 professions using a five-point scale ranging from “not trustworthy at all” to “extremely trustworthy.” The professions included: attorneys (tax or estate planning); certified financial planners; CPAs; financial journalists (newspaper or magazine); financial show hosts (radio); financial show hosts (television); hedge fund managers; investment advisors or managers; life insurance agents; real estate brokers; and stock brokers.

CPAs had the highest overall score and were selected more than any other profession as being “extremely trustworthy” (22.7 percent). Certified financial planners had the second-highest overall score and were selected as being “extremely trustworthy” by 18.3 percent of the respondents. Financial television show hosts garnered the lowest overall score, with only 2.7 percent of the respondents identifying them as being “extremely trustworthy.”

About 5 percent of respondents said real estate brokers are “extremely trustworthy,” while 34 percent found them to be “somewhat trustworthy,” 33 percent “neutral,” 22 percent “somewhat untrustworthy,” and 6 percent “not trustworthy at all.”

Of the 480 individual investors who have obtained a new mortgage or refinanced within the past three years, about 17 percent indicated that they were “very concerned” or “extremely concerned – I think about it constantly” that the loan amount is too high or the mortgage terms too risky, according to the AFA announcement, while 34 percent were “not concerned at all.”

When asked “how do you primarily make financial investment decisions,” 30 percent identified “with counsel from a certified financial planner” and 16 percent “with counsel from an accountant or CPA.” The most frequently identified source of outside input was “from family and friends.”

Amplitude Research conducted the online survey from Dec. 15-17. Qualifying criteria were respondents who have investments besides their primary residence (stocks, bonds, mutual fund, money market fund, real estate, or individual retirement account). About 55 percent of the respondents had household income over $60,000, with 20 percent having household income over $100,000. There were 1,007 survey completions, which represents a margin of error of 3.07 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.


Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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