Vol 6 No. 45 -August 2, 2006
Mortgages just the
By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER
This may not be your typical summer beach reading, so
if you want to skip this column, I certainly understand. In
fact, I may be on my summer vacation by the time this is published,
so I wont even know. But if you harbor dreams of some
day facing the competition on "Jeopardy," you might
just pickup one or two pieces of obscure information if you
A mortgage is a legal document by which the buyer transfers
to the lender an interest in real estate to secure the repayment
of a debt in the form of a mortgage note. In the mortgage note,
the borrower promises to repay the debt, and the terms are set
relative to the amount of the debt, the mortgage due date, the
rate of interest, the amount of monthly payments, etc.
When the debt is repaid, the mortgage is discharged and a satisfaction
of mortgage is recorded with the register or recorded of deeds
in the county where the mortgage was recorded.
The party borrowing the money and giving the mortgage (the debtor)
is the mortgagor; the party paying the money and receiving the
mortgage (the lender) is the mortgagee. Under early English
and U.S. law, the mortgage was treated as a complete transfer
of title from the borrower to the lender. The lender was entitled
not only to payments of interest on the debt but also to the
rents and profits of the real estate. This meant that as far
as the borrower was concerned, the real estate was of no value,
therefore, it was "dead" until the debt was paid in
full hence the Norman-English name "mort" (dead),
Before the Great Depression of the 1930s, most mortgages were
straight or short-term mortgages requiring payments of interest
and lump-sum principal. When borrowers couldnt make their
monthly payments they lost their properties. This risk is somewhat
minimized today because of amortized mortgages where part of
the payment applies first to interest and then to principal.
In fact, until the 1930s only 40 percent of households owned
their own homes; the rate today is nearly 70 percent.
Adjustable rate mortgages were started by lenders when the inflation
of the 1970s made long-term, fixed-rate mortgages less attractive.
The variable rate mortgage, graduated payment mortgage and adjustable
rate mortgage all have rates of interest that vary or raise
when rates go up. The initial interest rates are lower than
for fixed rate mortgages
Failure to make mortgage loan payments results in foreclosure
of the borrowers rights in the real estate. The property
is then sold by the county at a public foreclosure sale. At
the foreclosure sale, the lender is the most frequent purchaser
of the property.
Something that I found really interesting was to look back and
see what the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were during
the past 30 years. In 1976 the annual average was 8.87 percent.
By 1986 it had jumped to 10.19 percent and in 1996 it was down
to 7.81 percent. Of course these numbers pale by comparison
to 1981 at 16.63 percent and 1980 at 13.74 percent.
The average for 2005 was down to 5.87 percent. Todays
average rate is 6.63 percent for a 30-year fixed and 6.25 percent
for a 15-year fixed.
If youre still awake, remember that owning your own property
is probably the best investment the average person can make
in his/her lifetime. It provides a home for your family, may
help fund your retirement and its the only debt the federal
government sill subsidizes. Enjoy the beach.
Go back to Index archives