Homeowners: Be more concerned

House made of $50 bills.

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Today in Cleveland, the AFL-CIO releases a nationwide survey of homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages. It finds a lot of them are in trouble -- and ominously, many more unaware that trouble is coming. Marketplace's Steve Tripoli has the story.


Steve Tripoli: The survey's take-home statistic is that 41 percent of homeowners whose payments have adjusted are worried. But just 18 percent of those who haven't yet seen adjustments are afraid.

Leslie Tolf at the union's benefits program says there's a dangerous knowledge gap there.

Leslie Tolf: Most of the mortgage holders don't realize what their adjustable rate is, how it's adjusted, and how many times it can be adjusted.

Two-thirds of those surveyed who've seen payments rise don't recall a lender ever telling them how much of a hike to expect.

Tolf says more pain's ahead for mortgage-holders as more adjustments roll in.

Tolf: They are going to be hurting, it's going to be affecting them, and they really need to be educated about where to turn.

To that end, the union's launching a free 24/7 hotline for members today. Labor leaders say the need's urgent. Increased mortgage payments for families earning $50,000 a year will equal a 10 percent after-tax pay cut -- on average.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

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