Nearly 950,000 homes returned to positive equity in the second quarter, now bringing the total number of residential homes with equity nationwide to more than 44 million, according to CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report.
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“The increase in borrower equity of $1 trillion from a year earlier is evidence that things are moving solidly in the right direction,” says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic. “Borrower equity is important because home equity constitutes borrowers’ largest investment segment and, as a result, is driving forward the rise in wealth for the typical home owner.”
Still, home price rises are needed to help more home owners feel more confident in their equity position. Of the 44 million properties with positive equity, about 9 million – or 19 percent – have less than 20 percent equity (labeled “under-equitied”), and 1.3 million have less than 5 percent (considered “near-negative equity”), according to CoreLogic.
About 5.3 million homes – or 10.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage – remained in negative equity as of the second quarter. The number is falling. A year ago, 7.2 million homes – or 14.9 percent –were in negative equity. Negative equity is when borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth.
“Borrowers who are ‘under-equitied’ may have a more difficult time refinancing their existing homes or obtaining new financing to sell and buy another home due to underwriting constraints,” according to CoreLogic’s report.
If home prices rise by just 5 percent, an additional 1 million home owners currently in negative equity could regain equity, according to CoreLogic’s analysis.
“Many home owners across the country are seeing the equity value in their homes grow, which lifts the economy as a whole,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “With more and more borrowers regaining equity, we expect home ownership to become an increasingly attractive option for many who have remained on the sidelines in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This should provide more opportunities for people to sell their homes, purchase a different home or refinance an existing mortgage.”
The states with the highest percentage of properties with a mortgage in negative equity as of the second quarter were:
On a metro level, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 26.2 percent, followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., at 19.5 percent.
On the other hand, the following states had the highest percentage of properties with a mortgage that were in an equity position:
On a metro level, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, boasted the highest percentage of properties with a mortgage in an equity position at 97.5 percent, followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, at 97 percent.