Almost a Quarter Of People With Mortgages Having Difficulty Paying Them Off

    NEW YORK, N.Y. – April 4, 2011 – A new Harris Poll finds that fully 22% of people with mortgages are having difficulty meeting their mortgage payments, and this includes 7% who are having a great deal of difficulty. Furthermore, 21% of those with mortgages are under water in that they think their homes are worth less than the amounts that they owe.

    However these numbers are somewhat lower than they were a year ago. Those having difficulty paying off their mortgages have declined from 29% to 22% (and those having a great deal of difficulty are down from 11% to 7%). At this time last year 24% of those with mortgages thought they were under water, three points higher than the number now.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 3,171 adults surveyed online between March 7 and 14, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

    Some of the main findings include:

    • Two thirds (66%) of all adults have mortgages on their homes, slightly lower than last year’s 69%.
    • While most homeowners with mortgages (73%) are having little or no difficulty making their mortgage payments, the 22% who are having difficulty represent about 32 million people. And the 7% having a great deal of difficulty represent more than 11 million people.
    • Those who believe their homes are worth less than the money they owe on their mortgages (21% of all those with mortgages) include 8% who say their homes are worth a lot less. However theses numbers are somewhat lower than they were a year ago (24% and 11%).
    • Most adults (62%), whether or not they are homeowners with mortgages, are at least somewhat concerned that their family’s income will not be enough to cover all their costs and expenses this year. This number is also very slightly lower than it was last year (65%). Unsurprisingly the higher the family income the lower the level of concern. But among the lowest income group, with household incomes of less than $35,000, fully 75% are concerned and 36% are very concerned.

    So What?

    These findings are consistent with other Harris Poll data on the economy that show a very modest, but, still painfully slow, recovery from the recession. Many millions of people are still hurting badly even if the numbers are slightly better than they were last year. It seems that we will continue to have a huge mortgage and foreclosure crisis until the economy is much stronger or house prices recover. It should be noted, however, that even the very modest improvements found in the poll may be deceptive. One reason why slightly less people are having difficulty paying their mortgages this year is that some people who were in difficulty last year have lost their homes and no longer have mortgages.

     

    TABLE 1

    HOW MANY HOME OWNERS HAVE A MORTGAGE?

    Do you have a mortgage on your home that you need to pay off?

    Base: Adults who own home (72% of all adults)

    2010

    2011

    %

    %

    Yes, paying off mortgage

    69

    66

    Had mortgage but it is paid off

    20

    22

    No, do not have nor have ever had a mortgage

    11

    12

     

    TABLE 2

    HOUSE WORTH MORE OR LESS THAN AMOUNT OWED ON MORTGAGE

    Is your house currently worth more or less than the amount you owe on your mortgage?

    Base: Adults who have a mortgage

    2010

    2011

    Household Income

    $34,999 or Less

    $35,000

    to

    $49,999

    $50,000

    to

    $74,999

    $75,000 to $99,999

    $100,000 or more

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    MORE (NET)

    55

    57

    46

    52

    57

    66

    64

    A lot more

    24

    29

    21

    27

    25

    30

    36

    A little more

    31

    28

    24

    25

    32

    36

    28

    About the same

    18

    15

    25

    17

    14

    12

    13

    LESS (NET)

    24

    21

    22

    27

    24

    21

    18

    A little less

    12

    13

    14

    16

    15

    11

    10

    A lot less

    11

    8

    7

    10

    9

    9

    7

    Decline to answer

    3

    7

    8

    4

    5

    1

    5

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

    Note: All of the numbers listed here refer to people, which is greater than the number of homes involved.

     

    TABLE 3

    HAVING DIFFICULTY PAYING OFF MORTGAGE

    How much difficulty are you having paying off your mortgage?

    Base: Adults who have mortgage

    2010

    2011

    %

    %

    Difficulty (NET)

    29

    22

    A great deal of difficult

    11

    7

    Some difficulty

    18

    15

    Not much/No difficulty (NET)

    68

    73

    A little bit of difficult

    23

    24

    No difficulty at all

    45

    49

    Decline to answer

    3

    5

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.


    TABLE 4

    COCERNED ABOUT NOT HAVING ENOUGH INCOME

    How concerned are you that your family’s income will not be enough to cover all your costs and expenses this year?

    Base: All adults

    2010

    2011

    Household Income

    $34,999 or less

    $35,000

    to

    $49,999

    $50,000

    to

    $74,999

    $75,000 to $99,999

    $100,000 or more

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Concerned (NET)

    65

    62

    75

    71

    62

    52

    42

    Very concerned

    26

    25

    36

    28

    24

    17

    12

    Somewhat concerned

    39

    37

    40

    43

    39

    35

    30

    Not concerned (NET)

    36

    38

    25

    29

    38

    48

    58

    Not very concerned

    24

    27

    19

    19

    30

    36

    33

    Not at all concerned

    12

    12

    6

    10

    8

    12

    24

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 7 to 14, 2011 among 2,379 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

     

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J39773

    Q730, 735, 740, 745, 750, 755

    The Harris Poll® #45, April 4, 2011

    By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll

    About Harris Interactive

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