U.S. Home Equity Increased by $908 Billion in 2017

The overall amount of home equity controlled by U.S. homeowners ballooned by 12.2% in 2017 — a gain of $908.4 billion in just 12 months.

That works out to about $15,000 per homeowner, according to the most recent home equity report from real estate analysis firm CoreLogic. But as has been the case for some time now, the biggest gains came from the western states: California homeowners saw average gains of $44,000 year over year, while their counterparts in Washington State enjoyed an increase of $40,000.

“There are wide disparities in home-equity gains by geographic area, with higher-priced, capacity-constrained markets along the east and west coasts registering the largest increases,” CoreLogic president and CEO Frank Martell said in a statement announcing the results.

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Still, appreciation along the Eastern seaboard lagged far behind the West: Massachusetts homeowners saw average gains of $23,000 in 2017, followed by Rhode Island at $20,000. No other Eastern state topped the $20,000 mark, while Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado all registered higher per-household gains.

“In contrast, the average owner in Louisiana had little change in their housing wealth during 2017, given much lower prices and modest price growth,” Martell said.

Louisiana was the only state to remain flat, but multiple other states in the South and Midwest registered far more modest gains: Oklahoma homeowners, for instance, saw increases of $2,000.

The report also found continuing positive trends in the proportion of “underwater” homes, which stood at 6.3% of all mortgaged properties, a year-over-year decline of 21%.

That’s also a significant drop from the worst days of the recession, when 26% of all mortgaged residential properties had mortgages that were worth more than the home itself.

Written by Alex Spanko

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  • Who doubts home equity is growing, especially in California and Washington? What is of concern is if the perception of that growth by seniors will be reflected in HECM demand?

  • These numbers are all averages. As shown by the heat map those increases are highly concentrated. If in California a high disproportionate increase in high value homes, they have little application to HECMs.

    It is as true in principal residences as it is in income, a small percentage of home owners generally got the greatest benefit from that alleged $908 billion increase in home equity. Seniors correctly acknowledge that only about 10% of their ranks will see much of that increase. In general when seniors downsize so does their participation in that kind of home equity increase.

    Yet our biggest problem has absolutely NOTHING to do with home equity but with senior perceptions of HECMs and, as Mike Banner points out, HECM originators. It is much easier for us to deal with the former (HECMs) BUT it has been a while since I have heard anyone complaining about how seniors on a large scale are not perceiving the value of their homes.

    Perhaps you are right in your assessment that “the rise in equity in the hands of senior homeowners is ,,, offsetting the lowering of the PLF … on October 02, 2017!! In parts of the left and right coasts in this country, the rise does not offset the lowering of PLFs on October 2, 2017; however, the increase in the lending limit to $679,650 on 1/1/2018 did.

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