Nevada, Florida, Illinois Have Most Underwater Mortgages

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Of some 48 million mortgaged residential properties in the United States at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016, approximately 3.2 million (6.2%) are properties where the mortgage amount is greater than the value of the property. The percentage of underwater or negative equity properties at the end of the fourth quarter was lower than the total at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015 (4.3 million and 10.7%).

About 15% (approximately 7.7 million) of all mortgaged properties have positive equity of less than 20%, and 1.6% had less than 5% positive equity at the end of 2016. The percentage of homes with less than 20% positive equity is lower than at the end of 2015 when 18.9% of all properties had positive equity below 20%.

The aggregate value of properties with negative equity fell by $25.9 billion year over year in the fourth quarter to a nationwide total of $283 billion. The data were released Thursday by research firm CoreLogic.

CoreLogic’s chief economist noted:

Average home equity rose by $13,700 for U.S. homeowners during 2016. The equity build-up has been supported by home-price growth and paydown of principal. … [A]bout one-fourth of all outstanding mortgages have a term of 20 years or less, which amortize more quickly than 30-year loans and contribute to faster equity accumulation.

The five states with the highest percentage of homes with negative equity are Nevada (13.6%), Florida (11.6%), Illinois (11.1%), Rhode Island (10.0%) and Arizona (9.8%). These five states accounted for 29.7% of all U.S. underwater mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The five states with the highest percentages of homes with positive equity are Texas (98.4%), Hawaii (98.1%), Washington (97.9%), Colorado (97.9%) and Alaska (97.9%).

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

  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida (16.1%)
  • Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada (15.5%),
  • Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Illinois (12.6%)
  • Washington, DC-Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia (8.4%)
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, N.Y.-N.J. (5.1%)

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

  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, California (99.4%)
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (98.5%)
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado (98.5%)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California (975%)
  • Boston, Massachusetts (95.3%)