Underwater Homes Still a Thorn for the Market

May 5, 2015

Rising home values have given more home owners equity again. By the end of March, 1.6 million borrowers were back into a positive equity position on their home loans compared to a year ago, according to new mortgage data released by Black Knight Financial Services.

Yet, more than 4 million borrowers – or 8 percent of all home owners with a mortgage – remain underwater, owing more on their home than it is currently worth. That marks a 30 percent drop from a year ago, but several states are still seeing elevated numbers of underwater owners. Notably, states where values fell the most during the housing crisis continue to see a high number of underwater borrowers.

Nevada and Florida have the highest rates of negative equity at 16 percent and 15 percent, respectively, according to Black Knight Financial Services.

Borrowers whose homes are in the lowest 20 percent of home values are nine times more likely to be underwater than those in the top fifth, according to Black Knight data.

"In fact, 1 of every 3 borrowers in active foreclosure has a current loan-to-value ratio of 150 or more, meaning they owe 50 percent more than their homes are worth," says Ben Graboske with Black Knight.

Source: "Housing Values: Why the Divide Isn’t Narrowing," CNBC (May 4, 2015)