Mortgage Debt Soars

Physician's Money Digest, September15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 17

Even as home prices have skyrocketedinto the stratosphere, mortgage debt hasclimbed even faster. Mortgage refinancingand home equity mortgages haveincreased the nation's mortgage debt by58% over the past 5 years, comparedwith a 39% rise in home prices. It seemsmany consumers don't see the downsideof taking on heavy debt to buy a house.Some homebuyers concentrate on the taxbreak that a mortgage interest gives them.They don't recognize, however, that evenin the top tax bracket, you save just 35cents for each dollar of interest you pay.Mortgage refinancing also can be a trap.Although refinancing can lower yourmonthly payments, it often adds years toyour mortgage, which means that youmay end up paying more in total interestthan you would have if you stayed withyour original loan.