This is Where the Equity-Rich Live

October 26, 2015

The number of home owners nationwide with equity is growing.

The following metro areas with a population of at least 500,000 are seeing the highest share of equity-rich residential properties – those with at least 50 percent equity – according to RealtyTrac’s Third Quarter 2015 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report:

  • San Jose, Calif.: 43.9%
  • San Francisco: 37.9%
  • Honolulu: 36.5%
  • Los Angeles: 32.1%
  • New York: 30.4%

Rising home prices in Seattle have prompted more owners to now be in the equity position as well.

“Given the price growth we are seeing in the Seattle housing market, it’s not surprising that equity is growing as well,” says Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate in the Seattle market. “This is a sign that many owners who were able to hold onto their homes through the housing crisis have recovered much, if not all, of their lost equity.”

But just because owners now have equity doesn’t mean they’re looking to cash in right away.

“Unfortunately, even though the number of equity rich home owners is on the rise, this isn’t translating into additional inventory in the Seattle market,” Gardner says. “As a result, we find ourselves in the proverbial ‘chicken-and-egg’ situation where there are plenty of people who want to sell, but won’t list their home until they can buy something new. But they can’t buy something new until there are more homes for sale. Unfortunately, I see no end in sight to this cycle in the near term.”

For home owners facing foreclosure, they may be able to avoid it altogether and cash out with the sale of their home.

As home prices rise, the share of in-foreclosure properties that are seeing equity is growing too. The following major markets are seeing the highest share of in-foreclosure properties with positive equity: Denver (85.9%); Austin, Texas (83.3%); Honolulu (79.5%); Scranton, Pa. (77.8%); San Jose, Calif. (77.3%); Pittsburgh (75.9%); McAllen, Texas (75.6%); Baton Rouge, La. (71.6%); and Nashville, Tenn. (71.4%).

Source:  RealtyTrac