Homeowners may have overly optimistic expectations that their homes will continue to appreciate as the housing market cools, according to a survey by investment bank RBC Capital Markets.
Nearly half of those polled expect their homes will continue to appreciate by at least 5 percent a year for several years — down from 60 percent of those polled last year.
But only 13 percent of those surveyed have potentially risky adjustable-rate and interest-only mortgages, and 25 percent said they’d already paid off their mortgages. That suggests most homeowners will be able to weather a slowdown or reversal in the record rate of home-price appreciation during the boom years.
More than 80 percent of the 1,003 homeowners surveyed nationwide in the second week of September said they had at least $50,0000 in equity built up in their homes. Nearly 60 percent said they have at least $100,000 in equity.
Of the homeowners with adjustable-rate and interest-only loans, less than half are concerned with their ability to meet higher payments, and 13 percent haven’t even considered whether they will be at risk when their mortgages “reset” at higher rates and their monthly payments go up.
“While this is a fairly small segment of the overall survey (approximately 6 percent), it suggests material risk to this segment of the population,” RBC Capital said in a press release announcing the survey.
One of the goals of the survey was to determine how a slowdown in the housing market might affect consumer spending.
“While real estate expectations are lower than they were last year, consumers still seem optimistic despite what we are seeing in the marketplace,” said Scot Ciccarelli, managing director and equity research analysts for RBC Capital Markets. “Declining real estate values could eventually impact consumer spending as people don’t feel as wealthy as they used to and become less likely to borrow against the equity they have built up in their homes.”