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Is Family Mortgage Debt Out of Control?

Some homeowners have recently done a “cash out” refinance and have taken a portion of their increased equity from their house. Others have sold their homes and purchased more expensive homes with larger mortgages. At the same time, first-time buyers have become homeowners and now have mortgage payments for the first time.

These developments have caused concern that families might be reaching unsustainable levels of mortgage debt. Some are worried that we may be repeating a behavior that helped precipitate the housing crash ten years ago.

Today, we want to assure everyone that this is not the case. Here is a graph created from data released by the Federal Reserve Board which shows the Household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages as a percentage of disposable personal income. The ratio is the total quarterly required mortgage payments divided by total quarterly disposable personal income. In other words, the percentage of spendable income people are using to pay their mortgage.

Is Family Mortgage Debt Out of Control? | MyKCM

Today’s ratio of 4.44% is nowhere near the ratio of 7.21% during the peak of the housing bubble and is instead at the lowest rate since 1980 (4.38%).

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk recently commented on the ratio:

“The Debt Service Ratio for mortgages is near the low for the last 38 years. This ratio increased rapidly during the housing bubble and continued to increase until 2007. With falling interest rates, and less mortgage debt, the mortgage ratio has declined significantly.”

Bottom Line

Many families paid a heavy price because of questionable practices that led to last decade’s housing crash. It seems the American people have learned a lesson and are not repeating that same behavior regarding their mortgage debt.

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About Area

The ancient mountains, rolling hills, and pristine creeks and rivers of the North Georgia mountains have a way of calling you out into the wild, no matter the season. And the majestic mountain setting that makes the outdoors so fun and inviting also provides some of the most amazing backdrops for a home as well. Many natives to the area have perfected the art of “porch swing sitting” and will be happy to share their notes with those who need to relax a bit. With so many homes having views of nothing but the majesty of nature in many different forms, it’s no wonder the art of sitting quietly to unwind is widespread. It’s also widely understood and ensured that these mountains will remain pristine for many generations to come. The Chattahoochee National Forest makes up a large majority of land in the region, and therefore it will remain virtually unchanged and undeveloped by people for many, many years to come. The bounties of the land and celebration of mountain heritage are favorite themes for the many festivals held throughout the area and throughout the year. Local farmers, mountain artisans and entertainers have a huge, artistic and loving stage on which to showcase their talents. People from all over the world and from all walks of life come to enjoy the good food and good times of these southern Appalachian festivals. The incredible display of Mother Nature in these mountains is definitely a great reason to find a home here, add to that the never ending events and abundance of talented and lovely people and there’s really no reason not to.

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