Across the country house prices are still on the decline for the most part. And nowhere is this more evident than in St. Louis where more and more homeowners are "underwater" where their home's actual value is concerned. According to Zillow, the people who owe more than their home is worth continues to rise, with one in three mortgages being upside down now.
This spike in so-called "negative equity" is almost a natural consequence of the 6.1 percent decline in home values. And many "underwater" home owners are just those left hanging in limbo by governmental efforts to stem the number of properties being foreclosed upon - those owners are not out in the street, but are left holding an impossible situation. According to the Zillow research, the average home in St. Louis is no worth only $130,400. The interactive chart at the end of this article from Zillow tells the tale better than 1000 words.
But the worse news is, across the United States 27 percent of mortgages are underwater. And if this dismal figure is not bad enough, some places are in far worse shape. In Orlando, Florida for instance, 62 percent of homes are worth less than what's owed on them - while almost three fourths of all Phoenix, Arizona homeowners find themselves owning far more than anyone would pay for their homes. Leading economists claim the housing market cannot improve until the majority of these "underwater mortgages" are cleared.
According to Zillow's so called "home value index" many of America's biggest markets show high percentages of underwater mortgages, with some cities showing above 40 percent of home owners beneath the curve including; Atlanta, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Tampa, Sacramento, and those mentioned above.
St. Louis has more reason to be worried even above and beyond these dismal numbers too, if this writer's cursory review of the city's real estate presence online says anything. We will report on this aspect in the morning, but as pitiful as St. Louis' real estate market appears, the brokers who offer help on the Internet appear even more pitiful. Wow, is all I can say. Stay tuned.