Fewer Home Mortgages Deeply Submerged

 RealtyTrac® on January 9th  today released its U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report for December 2013, which shows that 9.3 million U.S. residential properties were deeply underwater — worth at least 25 percent less than the combined loans secured by the property — representing 19 percent of all properties with a mortgage in December.

That was down from 10.7 million residential properties deeply underwater in September 2013, representing 23 percent of all properties with a mortgage, and down from 10.9 million properties deeply underwater in January 2013, representing 26 percent of all properties with a mortgage. The recent peak in negative equity was May 2012, when 12.8 million U.S. residential properties were deeply underwater, representing 29 percent of all properties with a mortgage.

Fewer foreclosures were deeply underwater in December compared to three months earlier. A total of 239,470 residential properties actively in the foreclosure process were worth at least 25 percent less than the combined loans secured by the property, representing 48 percent of all properties in foreclosure. That was 60,000 fewer than in September, when there were 299,773 foreclosure properties deeply underwater, representing 56 percent of all properties in the foreclosure process. Meanwhile, 31 percent of all residential properties in the foreclosure process had some positive equity, up from 24 percent with equity in September.

The universe of equity-rich properties — with at least 50 percent equity — grew during the fourth quarter as well, from 7.4 million representing 16 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage in September, to 9.1 million representing 18 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage in December.

“During the housing downturn we saw a downward spiral of falling home prices resulting in rising negative equity, which in turn put millions of homeowners at higher risk for foreclosure when they encountered a trigger event such as job loss,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Now we are seeing the reverse trend: rising home prices resulting in falling negative equity, which in turn is giving millions of homeowners a lifeline to avoid foreclosure when they encounter a trigger event. On the other end of the spectrum, the percentage of equity-rich homeowners is nearing a tipping point that should result in a larger inventory of homes listed for sale and give the overall economy a nice shot in the arm in 2014.

“However, there are still millions of homeowners who are in such a deep equity hole that it will take years for them to regain their equity,” Blomquist added. “The longer these homeowners remain in a negative equity position without relief in the form of a principal loan balance reduction, the more likely that foreclosure will become the path of least resistance for them.”

Other high-level findings from the report:

  • States with the highest percentage of residential properties deeply underwater in December were Nevada (38 percent), Florida (34 percent), Illinois (32 percent), Michigan (31 percent), Missouri (28 percent), and Ohio (28 percent).
  •  Major metropolitan statistical areas with the highest percentage of residential properties deeply underwater in December were Las Vegas (41 percent), Orlando, Fla., (36 percent), Detroit (35 percent), Tampa, Fla., (35 percent), Miami (33 percent), and Chicago (33 percent).
  •  States with the highest percentage of equity-rich residential properties were Hawaii (36 percent), New York (33 percent), California (26 percent), Montana (24 percent), and Maine (24 percent). The District of Columbia also posted an equity-rich rate of 24 percent.
  •  Major metropolitan statistical areas with the highest percentage of equity-rich residential properties were San Jose, Calif., (37 percent), San Francisco (33 percent), Pittsburgh (30 percent), Buffalo, N.Y. (30 percent), and Los Angeles (29 percent).
  •  States with the highest percentage of deeply underwater residential properties in the foreclosure process included Nevada (65 percent), Florida (61 percent), Illinois (61 percent), Michigan (55 percent), and Ohio (48 percent).
  • Major metro areas with the highest percentage of deeply underwater residential properties in the foreclosure process were Las Vegas (66 percent), Tampa, Fla. (63 percent), Chicago (62 percent), Orlando (61 percent), and Detroit (61 percent).
  • States with the highest percentage of foreclosure properties with some equity included Oklahoma (62 percent), Colorado (54 percent), New York (52 percent), Texas (51 percent) and North Carolina (45 percent).
  • Major metro areas with the highest percentage of foreclosure properties with some equity were Buffalo, N.Y. (74 percent), Pittsburgh (73 percent), Austin (67 percent), Denver (64 percent), and Oklahoma City (63 percent).

The posts on this blog are opinions, not advice.
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  1. […] were still value significantly reduction than their strange values, according to a RealtyTrac report from Thursday. Almost half of homes in foreclosure were “deeply underwater,” definition their […]

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