Residential Market Shows Third Consecutive Quarter of Negative Equity Decline

by Houston Agent

CoreLogic has released negative equity data indicating a third consecutive quarterly decline in negative equity for residential properties.

Family sitting in front of house

Image courtesy of Artiga Photo/Corbis

CoreLogic reports that 10.8 million, or 22.5 percent, of all residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity at the end of the third quarter of 2010, down from 11.0 million and 23 percent in the second quarter. This is due primarily to foreclosures of severely negative equity properties rather than an increase in home values.

“Negative equity is a primary factor holding back the housing market and broader economy,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic. “The good news is that negative equity is slowly declining, but the bad news is that price declines are accelerating, which may put a stop to or reverse the recent improvement in negative equity.”

Negative equity, often referred to as “underwater” or “upside down,” means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both. During this year the number of borrowers in negative equity has declined by over 500,000 borrowers. An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity in the third quarter. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for 27.5 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide.

Of nearly 3.3 million mortgages in Texas, almost 368,000 (11 percent) are negative equity. Texas has just under 195,000 mortgages listed as near negative equity.

Download the entire Q3 Negative Equity report from Corelogic.

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