Jan 18, 2024 - News

NWA rate of mortgage-free homes is lower than national average

Data: Census Bureau; Note: Data unavailable in 2020; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Census Bureau; Note: Data unavailable in 2020; Chart: Axios Visuals

36.1% of Northwest Arkansas homes were owned outright in 2022, up from 34% in 2017, according to the latest census data.

  • That's compared to nearly 40% nationally — the highest share since 2005.

Why it matters: This means some people aren't worrying about high mortgage rates.

Driving the news: Many free-and-clear homeowners are baby boomers who refinanced their homes when rates were lower, Bloomberg reports.

Between the lines: Paying off a loan early can have psychological perks, but some personal finance experts say it could be smarter to invest that money in stocks instead.

  • "If people derive some intrinsic happiness out of paying off their mortgage because it reduces their stress, then that has value," Michael Roberts, a Wharton School finance professor, told Bloomberg.

What we're watching: Mortgage-rate humble brags. Major forecasts predict rates will dip in 2024, but those 3%-ers likely got the interest rate of a lifetime.

Go deeper: Pending home sales neared record low in October as mortgages approached 8%

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