CoreLogic released new analysis showing approximately 850,000 more residential properties returned to a state of positive equity during the first quarter of 2013, and the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity currently stands at 39 million. The analysis shows that 9.7 million, or 19.8 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the first quarter of 2013 with a total value of $580 billion. This figure is down from 10.5 million, or 21.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012.
Negative equity, often referred to as “underwater” or “upside down,” means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both.
The national aggregate value of negative equity decreased more than $50 billion to $580 billion at the end of the first quarter from $631 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. This decrease was driven in large part by an improvement in home prices.
Of the 39 million residential properties with positive equity, 11.2 million have less than 20 percent equity. Borrowers with less than 20 percent equity, referred to as “under-equitied,” may have a more difficult time obtaining new financing for their homes due to underwriting constraints. At the end of the first quarter of 2013, 2.1 million residential properties had less than 5 percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity. Properties that are near negative equity are at risk should home prices fall. Under-equitied mortgages accounted for 23 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide in the first quarter of 2013. The average amount of equity for all properties with a mortgage is 32.8 percent.
“The impressive home price gains of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 have had a big impact on the distribution of residential home equity,” said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “During the past year, 1.7 million borrowers have regained positive equity. We expect the pent-up supply that falling negative equity releases will moderate price gains in many of the fast-appreciating markets this spring.”
“The negative equity burden continues to recede across the country thanks largely to rising home prices,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We are still far below peak home price levels, but tight supplies in many areas coupled with continued demand for single family homes should help us close the gap.”
Highlights as of Q1 2013:
►Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 45.4 percent, followed by Florida (38.1 percent), Michigan (32 percent), Arizona (31.3 percent) and Georgia (30.5 percent). These top five states combined account for 32.8 percent of negative equity in the U.S.
►Of the largest 25 metropolitan areas, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 41.1 percent, followed by Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. (40.7 percent), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (34.5 percent), Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (34.2 percent) and Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (33.6 percent).
►6.0 million upside-down borrowers hold first liens without home equity loans. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $211,000. The average underwater amount is $48,000.
►3.7 million upside-down borrowers hold both first and second liens. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $294,000. The average underwater amount is $79,000.
The bulk of home equity for mortgaged properties is concentrated at the high end of the housing market. For example, 88 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity compared with 73 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000.