850,000 Fewer Homeowners Underwater, 10M More to Go

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Home values are recovering, but nearly 20 percent of mortgaged homes still have negative equity.

The waters are receding, but not fast enough for millions of homeowners.

Real estate analytics firm CoreLogic has a new report on home values. It shows that about 850,000 more residential properties are now worth more than the homeowners owe on them; they’re not underwater anymore.

Unfortunately, 19.8 percent of residential properties with mortgages still are, CoreLogic says. That means 9.7 million homes still had negative equity at the end of the first quarter, with their owners collectively owing a total of $580 billion more than the properties were worth.

The main reason for the improvement is rising home values, CoreLogic says. In April, home prices were up 12 percent over the past year, USA Today says.

Here’s what else CoreLogic reported:

  • 39 million homes have positive equity.
  • 11.2 million have less than 20 percent equity, and may have trouble getting new financing because of underwriting rules.
  • 2.1 million homes have less than 5 percent equity, and are at risk of falling underwater again.
  • The average amount of equity for all mortgaged homes is 32.8 percent.
  • 1.7 million borrowers regained positive equity in the past year. (That means about half of them did so in this past quarter.)
  • Five states account for nearly a third of all negative equity. Nevada has the most homes underwater (45.4 percent), followed by Florida (38.1 percent), Michigan (32 percent), Arizona (31.3 percent) and Georgia (30.5 percent).

If your home has negative equity, you may be able to get some help. Check out our story from last year, “More Help for Homeowners: HARP 2.0.”

Stacy Johnson

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