200K homes no longer underwater in 4Q 2012

March 19, 2013 –  CoreLogic’s latest analysis finds that approximately 200,000 more residential properties returned to positive equity during the fourth quarter of 2012, as they emerged from being underwater.That brings the total number of properties that moved from negative to positive equity in 2012 to 1.7 million, and the number of mortgaged residential properties with equity to 38.1 million.

However, CoreLogic’s analysis also finds that 10.4 million (21.5 percent) of all residential properties with a mortgage were still underwater at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, down from 10.6 million properties (22 percent) at the end of the third quarter of 2012.

The national aggregate value of negative equity decreased $42 billion to $628 billion at the end of the fourth quarter from $670 billion at the end of the third quarter in 2012. This decrease was driven in large part by an improvement in home prices.

“In the fourth quarter we again saw an improvement in the equity position of households “Housing market improvements, particularly in the hardest hit states, are the catalyst for households to regain equity and become participants in 2013’s housing market,” said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

“The trend toward more homeowners moving back into positive equity territory should continue in 2013,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

Highlights as of Q4 2012

• Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 52.4 percent, followed by Florida (40.2 percent), Arizona (34.9 percent), Georgia (33.8 percent) and Michigan (31.9 percent). The top five states account for 32.7 percent of negative equity in the U.S.

• Of the largest 25 metropolitan areas, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 44.1 percent, followed by Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. (40.7 percent), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (38.1 percent), Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (36.6 percent), and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (35.7 percent).

• 6.5 million upside-down borrowers hold first liens without home equity loans. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $213,000. The average underwater amount is $45,000.

• 3.9 million upside-down borrowers hold both first and second liens. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $296,000. The average underwater amount is $80,000.

• The bulk of home equity for mortgaged properties is concentrated at the high end of the housing market. For example, 86 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity compared with 72 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®