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Do you own your home free and clear?

  • Posted by Alison Brody
  • on September 24, 2010 11:19 AM

Roughly 32% of Americans own their own homes free and clear. They have paid off their mortgages and the title is held in their name alone.

Are you one of the select few in this country who can claim to be mortgage free? If so, tell Marketplace about it here.

Unfortunately (and perhaps not surprisingly) housing economists we’ve spoken to say that the ranks of the mortgage-free homeowners will likely shrink in the future. So, while you’re still out there, we have some questions for you: How did you do it? How did it feel when you made your last payment? What does it mean to you that you are the sole owner of your home?

Share your story with Marketplace here.

Discussion: 5 Comments

  • Posted by dan on November 9, 2010 2:51 PM

    Even in this area of historically depressed housing vaulation our family owes less then fifth or even a sixth of our homes current value but instead of paying the remainder off we jsut agreed to refinace for 15 more years. Rates or so low and despite the very real posiblity of housing deflation spreading to the braoder ecconomy in the short term it is hard not think that a car loan size monthly payemnt now wont be even more trifeling in 2018 or 2022 ….As long ans my wife and I are fortunate enough to be gainfully employed we will never consider using our home as a piggy bank but Living in earthquakke overdue California is another reason not to own a house outright. We are in our 40sw so I see no hury in paying it off.

  • Posted by jasmine on December 31, 2010 2:26 PM

    I built an underground home with a lot of green, energy-efficient components. When it came time to take out a mortgage on the house to pay off the high-interest loan used to build it, I was shocked to find that no bank would write a mortgage on it because it was not stick-frame construction. This meant that it was ineligible for a Fanny Mae loan, and so the loan could not be sold. How silly is that? Our federally-backed mortgage underwriter won’t support energy efficient construction techniques?

    I wound up working it out, and now own this home free and clear, but if I ever want to sell it, the buyer will encounter the same problem, so the home’s value has been diminished. Even so, I do feel better owning my home, and I feel good about having a well-built, efficient home. Intellectually I know that I might be better off financially if I owned a less-efficient, more salable (mortgagable) house, just like I might be actually better off by renting, since I wouldn’t have to pay taxes or for maintenance, but it FEELS secure to own my own little castle.

  • Posted by David on February 25, 2011 1:28 PM

    I am recently retired and just paid off my mortgage. I reduced my monthly costs by $2300/mo. and I wasn’t earning near that with the “cheap” money that the mortgage is claimed to represent.

  • Posted by John Baldridge, PhD on March 19, 2011 1:01 AM

    The “cult” of home ownership in the US is particularly interesting, given the much lower rate of home ownership in many other developed countries. Economic Geographer, David Harvey, has pointed out that the ideology of home ownership in the US has much to do with mid-century attempts by the corporate elite to pacify the working class (“debt-incumbent home owners are much less likely to go on strike.”).

    In these times of the real estate bubble, it makes sense to rent and to shunt the cost of an overvalued real estate market onto the shoulders of the wealthier investors, whose speculative fervor brought the US economy to the brink of disaster. Investors who drank the kool-aid and helped to artificially inflate real estate prices are now stuck with their investments. I see no reason to help bail them out by buying overvalued housing now.

    The structural problem, though, is dire, and needs to be considered:

    • People who got suckered into foolish investments need to pay their mortgages, and that mean higher rent prices.

    • Wages have not kept pace with the real estate bubble, and that means renters cannot pay the necessary rates to cover landlords’ “irrationally exuberant” decisions in the bubble market.

    • Banks that foreclose on housing are left holding the bag, and they need to get at least a partial return on their investment. Their only viable recourse is to resell the properties at more realistic market rates, or go into the business of renting.

    I am lucky. The property I rent is not a speculative purchase; the owner inherited it, and so my rent payment is a free-and-clear income source for them. The property owner, however, did get drawn into the bubble market of real estate investment, and has other liabilities that are pressing and critical.

    As things “shake out” in the real estate market, I might end up benefiting: my landlord could decide to sell me the property I’m renting at a reasonable price, to help offset their speculative damages. On the other hand, they could decide to sell the house I’m renting to another speculator, during a brief period of “mini-bubble” speculation, and I could get stuck with the choice of higher rent or the need to move.

    While I and my partner are fairly well situated for the next year or so, the message is clear:

    The aftermath of the real estate bubble will be with us for years to come, and the complex interaction between lenders, owners, and renters are going through a period of flux. None of these players can take anything for granted, and people should expect to have their lives disrupted. I don’t want to move next year, but there is no guarantee that—even though I pay my rent on time—I’ll be able to expect any stability.

    My advice: if you can afford it, get a 12-month lease. Otherwise, be ready to move in 30 days….

    John Baldridge.

  • Posted by krankenversicherung online vergleich on April 22, 2011 4:26 PM

    Hallo, ich bin Baujahr 1960 und Freiberufler, der Wandel in die Private Krankenkasse war für mich keine Anfrage der Beiträge stattdessen ungefähr der Leistungen, die Partitur einfach…

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