The number of of residential properties with underwater mortgages fell to 10.8 million or 22.2 percent of all properties in the third quarter, down from 11.0 million in the second quarter according to data released by CoreLogic. The decrease is primarily due to foreclosures of severely negative equity properties rather than an increase in home values.
During the year the number of borrowers in negative equity has declined by over 500,000 borrowers. An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity in the third quarter. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for 27.5 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide.
According to CoreLogic, negative equity remains concentrated in five states: Nevada, which had the highest negative equity percentage with 67 percent of all of its mortgaged properties underwater, followed by Arizona (49 percent), Florida (46 percent), Michigan (38 percent) and California (32 percent).
The largest declines in negative equity were concentrated in the hardest hit states. Alaska experienced the largest decline, falling 1.8 percentage points, followed by Nevada (-1.6), Arizona (-1.4), California (-1.2), and Florida (-0.9). Idaho and Alabama are the only states with noticeable increases, which is not a surprise given they are currently the two top states for home price depreciation.
“Negative equity is a primary factor holding back the housing market and broader economy. The good news is that negative equity is slowly declining, but the bad news is that price declines are accelerating, which may put a stop to or reverse the recent improvement in negative equity,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic.
For the full report, see here.