Equity-rich properties rise as fewer go underwater

13.6 million property owners nationwide are considered equity rich, thanks to rising home prices. attom data solutions’ latest U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report shows that nearly a quarter of all mortgaged homes in the U.S are equity rich, meaning the combined loan amount secured by the property is 50 or less than the estimated market value.

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California and its perennially high-valued real estate led all states with a 43.6% share of equity-rich properties in the fourth quarter of 2018. Hawaii was second at 39.3% and New York was third at 34.2%. On the other end of the spectrum, seriously underwater homes dropped off year-over-year.

The rise of equity rich homeowners also coincides with a dramatic decline in the number of seriously underwater properties, which have dropped from nearly 30 percent in 2012 to just 8.8 percent at the end of last year.

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If home prices grow faster than incomes, fewer and fewer people can afford to buy. The heavy demand from investors buying foreclosed properties will diminish as rising prices and falling.

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Am I about to lose everything? An underwater mortgage is a home purchase loan with a higher principal. In an underwater mortgage the homeowner may not have any equity. Generally a mortgage is considered underwater when the value of the home is less than the. payment burdens and increase some demand for real estate.

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The recent peak in negative equity was the second quarter of 2012, when 12.8 million U.S. residential properties representing 29 percent of all properties with a mortgage were seriously underwater. The universe of equity-rich properties – those with at least 50 percent equity – grew to 9.9 million representing 19 percent of all properties.

The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q4 2018 represented 25.6% of all properties with a mortgage, down slightly from 25.7% in the previous quarter but up from 25.4% in Q4 2017. Seriously Underwater Properties Rise to 9.1% in Q1. with fewer needing to get out from under financial distress.".

RealtyTrac said the number of California residential properties considered seriously underwater – in which the loan amount is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market.