Mortgage Update: 2.5M More Homes No Longer Underwater

A surge in home prices brought millions more homeowners into positive equity last quarter.

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Things are looking up for millions more homeowners.

We last wrote about the number of homes with negative equity in June. Here’s where we were then:

Unfortunately, 19.8 percent of residential properties with mortgages still are [underwater], 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.

What a difference a few months make. The newest report from CoreLogic says 2.5 million more homes escaped the depths in the second quarter. Now 14.5 percent of mortgaged homes are underwater, collectively owing $428 billion more than they are worth. The data are a mixed bag, but overall show a positive trend:

  • 41.5 million homes have positive equity.
  • 10.3 million homes have less than 20 percent equity, while 1.7 million homes have less than 5 percent equity.
  • Nevada has the highest percentage of mortgaged homes in negative equity (36.4 percent), followed by Florida (31.5 percent), Arizona (24.7 percent), Michigan (22.5 percent), and Georgia (20.7 percent). That’s more than a third of all the negative equity.
  • The Miami metropolitan area has the highest percentage of mortgaged homes in negative equity at 36.5 percent.
  • 91 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity, while 80 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000 do.

“The improvement is mainly due to soaring home prices, which jumped 7 percent during the quarter,” CNNMoney says. The improvement is expected to continue, but may slow down.

CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming told CNNMoney the improvements mean more homes will be sold and sellers should be able to maintain better credit scores, since they won’t be hurt by short sales.

If your home has negative equity, there’s help out there. Check out our story from last year, “More Help for Homeowners: HARP 2.0.”

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