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First National Bank Releases ‘Mortgage and Money’ Survey

Mortgage info-graphic 59% of Americans own a home - 61% who have taken out a mortgage have yet to pay it off - 79% view homeownership as a financial investment

Press Release

Contact: Kevin Langin, 402-602-3541
Release Date: June 14, 2018

Study: Majority of Americans Who Have Taken Out a Mortgage in their Lifetime Have Yet to Pay it Off

–Data Released from First National Bank of Omaha’s ‘Mortgage and Money’ Survey–

OMAHA, Neb. June 14, 2018—In recognition of National Homeownership Month, which takes place in June, First National Bank of Omaha today released the results of its Mortgage and Money Survey. An inaugural initiative, the survey examined Americans’ preferences, experiences and plans related to mortgages and homeownership.

The study found that 61% of those who have taken out a mortgage have yet to pay it off. In addition, of those who have taken out a mortgage, nearly half (48%) have refinanced. According to the data, 79% view homeownership as a financial investment, compared to 21% who say financial liability.

“Taking out a mortgage is one of the biggest—and, if executed correctly, smartest—financial moves anyone can make in their lifetime, for themselves and their families,” said Jerry O’Flanagan, executive vice president, Consumer Banking Group, First National Bank of Omaha. “Our survey results reveal data on the current state of mortgages and homeownership in America, and on the importance of educating people on all their financial options, whether they’re pre-loan, post-loan or just starting to plan their future.”

Among the survey’s findings:

  • Down Payment: 10% payment is most popular (48%), followed by 20% (22%), 15% (16%) and 30% (15%).
  • Term Length: 30-year is most popular (33%), followed by 15-year (28%), 10-year (20%) and 20-year (19%).
  • Interest Type: 69% prefer fixed rate, while 9% prefer adjustable rate and 22% do not know the difference.
  • Renting vs. Buying: 59% of Americans own a home, while 30% rent and 11% live rent free (e.g. with parents).
  • Bank vs. Broker: 56% of those who have taken out a mortgage used a bank, while 44% used a broker.
  • Process: The most popular first step in the mortgage process for Americans is inquiring with their bank (35%), followed by doing an online search (27%), going to a mortgage comparison website (15%), asking a friend or family member who is a homeowner for a referral (13%) and asking their realtor for a referral (9%).
  • Plans: 54% of those who have not taken out a mortgage plan on eventually doing so; 46% do not.

Additional data from the survey results is available upon request.

This report is a follow-up to First National Bank of Omaha’s Financial Literacy and Lifestyle Survey, released in April, which found that 50% of 18-to-60-year olds do not regularly contribute to a 401(k).


The study was conducted online using Survey Monkey. Over a thousand participants were polled, spanning across the United States. Participants were all over the age of 18 and represented a broad range in income, geographic location and gender.