Nearly half of the mortgaged residential properties in the nation were considered equity-rich in the first quarter of 2022, according to a new report by real estate data provider Attom.
Attom’s Q1 2022 Home Equity & Underwater Report shows that 44.9% of U.S. property owners have mortgage loan balances that are 50% or less of their home’s estimated market values.
Ten equity-rich metropolitan areas saw gains of at least 25% in just one year. All but Arizona were in southern states, including Texas, Florida and North Carolina. For example, in Austin, 73.8% of homeowners were considered equity-rich in Q1, up from 41.9% during the same quarter in 2021.
Among the metro areas with the highest shares were San Jose, Calif.; Austin; Boise, Idaho; and San Francisco.
The report also analyzed 8,705 U.S. zip codes containing at least 2,000 residential properties with mortgages in the first quarter. The report revealed that 3,247 (37%) of those zip codes were equity-rich.
Forty-one of the top 50 zip codes were in California and Texas, with eight of the top 10 in Austin. In Austin’s 78732 zip code, 80.6% of homeowners hold at least 50% equity in their property. In contrast, only 33% were equity-rich in that same zip code a year ago.
“Homeowners continue to benefit from rising home prices,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence for ATTOM. “Record levels of home equity provide financial security for millions of families and minimize the chance of another housing market crash like the one we saw in 2008. But these higher home prices and rising interest rates make it extremely challenging for first-time buyers to enter the market.”
The report noted that only about 201,000 homeowners nationwide were facing possible foreclosure in the first quarter of 2022.