Nevada, Florida, Arizona Claim Most Underwater Mortgages

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Of nearly 46.3 million mortgaged residential properties in the United States at the end of the third quarter of 2015, approximately 4.1 million (10.4%) had a mortgage amount greater than the value of the property. The percentage of underwater or negative equity properties at the end of the third quarter was lower than the total at the end of the second quarter (5.4 million and 10.9%).

Some 17.6% (approximately 8.9 million) of all mortgaged properties have positive equity of less than 20%, and 2.2% had less than 5% positive equity at the end of the third quarter. These levels are slightly lower than at the end of the second quarter of 2015, when 17.8% of all properties had positive equity below 20% and 2.3% had less than 5% positive equity.

The aggregate value of negative equity fell by $8.1 billion in the third quarter to a nationwide total of $301 billion. At the end of the second quarter, the aggregate value of underwater property totaled $309.1 billion. The data were released Tuesday by research firm CoreLogic.

CoreLogic’s chief economist noted:

Home price growth continued to lift borrower equity positions and increase the number of borrowers with sufficient equity to participate in the mortgage market. In Q3 2015 there were 37.5 million borrowers with a least 20 percent equity, up 7 percent from 35 million in Q3 2014. In the last three years, borrowers with at least 20 percent equity have increased by 11 million, a substantial uptick that is driving rapid growth in home equity originations.


The five states with the highest percentage of homes with negative equity were Nevada (19.0%), Florida (17.8%), Arizona (14.6%), Rhode Island (12.3%) and Maryland (12.1%). These five states accounted for 29.3% of all U.S. underwater mortgages in the third quarter of 2015.

The five states with the highest percentages of homes with positive equity were Texas (97.9%), Alaska (97.7%), Hawaii (97.6%), Colorado (97.2%) and Montana (97.1%).

The five metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of properties with negative equity were:

  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (19.6%)
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (14.2%),
  • Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (13.8%)
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (11.3%)
  • Washington, DC-Arlington-Alexandria, Va. (10.8%)

The five metro areas with the highest percentage in positive equity were:

  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (98.2%)
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore. (98.1%)
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (98.0%)
  • Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (97.9%)
  • Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (97.7%)