One in seven homeowners have adjustable-rate mortgages, and 79 percent are concerned about the interest rate on their mortgage increasing, according to a survey of 1,361 homeowners who closely mirror the U.S. population.
The survey, conducted in August for Wells Fargo, found that 56 percent of those holding ARMs plan to refinance when their interest rate resets, while 21 percent plan to take no action.
The young and those with higher incomes were the most likely to hold an ARM, the survey found. Among 18- to 29-year-old homeowners, 27 percent had an ARM, compared with 19 percent of 30- to 41-year-olds.
Among homeowners with annual incomes of $75,000 and up, 19 percent had ARMs, compared with 14 percent for the survey as a whole. About 17 percent of those with homes worth $200,000 or more held an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Nine out of 10 homeowners said they expect the value of their homes to stay the same or increase in the next 12 months, an indication that they aren’t as pessimistic as some experts about the downturn in the housing market.
“This survey finding suggests that homeowners are seeing the conditions of their local housing markets and concluding that it is more likely that price declines will be moderate not steep,” said Doreen Woo Ho, president of Wells Fargo’s Consumer Credit Group, in a press release. “There is a divergence of opinion among housing market experts today on how much prices might adjust. This survey data gives credence to those who hold the view that we’re more likely to have stability over time.”
Nearly three in four of those surveyed said the equity in their home is their most important investment. Among those with home equity loans or lines of credit, the figure was even higher — 82 percent.
Younger homeowners were more inclined than the older generations to view real estate as an important investment in their financial portfolios. Among homeowners 18 to 29, 44 percent said real estate was an important investment, compared with 32 percent of those 42 and older.