Online Mortgage Market Looking Flat

The percentage of Americans who would turn to the Internet as a channel for financing or refinancing a home has stayed remarkably flat since 1996, according to the 1999 National Housing Survey by Fannie Mae.

In 1999, only 21 percent of the respondents to Fannie Mae’s survey said they would probably or definitely try financing a home over the Internet, an increase of just 1 percent over those who said so in 1996.

The survey examines the attitudes 1,812 adults, included 878 who recently have gone through the mortgage process, about the process of buying and financing homes.

While the survey shows that adults are slowly beginning to consider online mortgage origination as a viable option, the Internet is still viewed predominately as a source of information for getting a mortgage, but is not yet viewed as being a very useful channel for the loan application. While 45 percent of adults, and 56 percent of those who have recently purchased a home, view the Internet as being “very useful” in providing information on obtaining a mortgage, just under one-third of adults (30 percent) view the Internet as very useful or delivering the paperwork needed to apply for a mortgage. Only 20 percent view the Internet as very useful when it comes to getting final approval.

Even using the Internet as a way of getting pre-qualified for a home loan is deemed very useful by only 37 percent of the respondents.

Those adults who have recently gone through the mortgage process are more likely than other adults to view the Internet as a “very useful” tool for helping one get through the mortgage process, the survey found.

Would You Use the Internet to Finance/Refinance a Home?
1996 1998 1999
Definitely/probably try it 20% 15% 21%
Might consider it 27% 28% 29%
Probably not try it 50% 40% 33%
Definitely not try it NA 15% 15%
Not sure 3% 2% 2%
Source: Fannie Mae

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