Property | International

Fewer Americans getting that sinking feeling

Sharp drop in number of homeowners with negative equity

  • Reuters
  • Published: 13:43 June 13, 2013
  • Gulf News

New York: More US homeowners got out from underwater on their mortgages in the first quarter as a recovery in housing lifted prices, a report from CoreLogic has shown.

There were 9.7 million properties underwater — whose owners owed more on the mortgage than the homes were worth — during the quarter, down from 10.5 million in the previous three months, the data analysis firm said. That amounts to 19.8 per cent of all properties with a mortgage, down from 21.7 per cent.

Underwater, or negative equity, rates spiked in the aftermath of the housing crisis as prices tumbled, but the recovery in the sector over the past year has helped improve some homeowners’ standings. In the past year, 1.7 million borrowers have regained positive equity, the report said.

“We are still far below peak home price levels,” CoreLogic chief executive officer Anand Nallathambi said in a statement, “but tight supplies in many areas coupled with continued demand for single family homes should help us close the gap.”

An additional 2.1 million properties were considered to be in near-negative equity in the first quarter, meaning they had less than 5 per cent equity.

Nevada had the highest percentage of properties in negative equity at 45.4 per cent. Rounding out the top five were Florida, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia.

These five states combined accounted for 32.8 per cent of negative equity in the US.

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