More Than a Quarter of Properties Are Equity-Rich

May 8, 2020

Many homeowners have a lot of money in their homes. During the first quarter of this year, 26.5% of residential properties or 14.5 million were considered equity rich, meaning the owner had at least 50% equity in their home, ATTOM Data Solutions reports Thursday.

“Homeowners’ balance sheets generally remained strong in the first quarter of 2020 across the U.S.,” says Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “In the latest marker of the ongoing housing market boom, mortgage payers were four times as likely to have homes worth considerably more than what they owed on their loans than considerably less.

“But as with other rosy first-quarter reports, this one needs to be taken in context of the looming impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” Teta adds.

Teta says it is possible that equity levels could drop over the coming months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the toll it’s having on the economy. So far, however, housing prices have stood in firm during the pandemic.

The Highest Equity Places

In the first quarter, the 10 states with the highest share of equity-rich properties were all in the Northeast and Western regions of the U.S., led by California (42.3%), Hawaii (39%), Vermont (38.2%), Washington (36.6%), and Oregon (34%).

By metro level, the five areas with the highest share of equity rich properties in the first quarter were: San Jose, Calif. (64.8%); San Francisco (57%); Los Angeles (47.4%); Santa Rosa, Calif. (45.5%); and San Diego (40%). In the Northeast, the equity leader was Boston, with 34.8% of equity-rich properties.