Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Interest only mortgages

I would love to see some statistics on interest only mortgages. I believe there are three types of people who get interest only mortgages. One type is like myself, who was looking to put down more money early in the mortgage and when the payments ammortized to have that be lower. Although we have a plan to still pay off our house at the 16 yr mark of our mortgage, I thought that locking myself into the higher interest rate was a higher risk.

I am afraid that the more popular type to use interest only mortgages are those who want to live beyond their means completely. The lower payment attraction of the interest only mortgage catches many eyes...but when someone isn't making ground on their mortgage many of them will have no choice but to refinance when the payment schedule is ammortized and they would have to pay their principal in 15 or 20 years but are only used to paying interest.

I believe there is a third type which is the type to speculate on property values and try to take advantage of a large growth area. Most places, someone could purchase a house in a potentially booming area, rent it out and pocket the piece above the interest, then cash in after 10 yrs from the property increase. However, this assumes property will continue to go up...but I know some people who have thought about this and some who are doing it. So, maybe it is also a popular model?

I would love to see some data about which ways the interest only mortgages are being used. I worry that it is another way that Americans are spending their money without accumulated assets and therefore hurting the economy in the long run. I hope that instead the property values continue to climb and the people making the decision to do the second piece there actually are making money on property values in the end.

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