One Million Homes Regained Positive Equity in 2015

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The number of homeowners around the country with negative equity is decreasing, but some states are faring better than others

March 11, 2016

Photo Credit: James Brooks, Flickr Creative Commons

In the fourth quarter of 2009, the percentage of homeowners in America with negative equity reached its peak at 26 percent. Now, after another 1 million homeowners managed to rise into the territory of positive equity in 2015, the share of mortgages that are underwater is down to 8.5 percent, according to MarketWatch. It’s good news, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

There were still 4.3 million properties that were underwater in the fourth quarter, which was an almost 3 percent increase from the third quarter. The good news, however, is that it was 19.1 percent lower than fourth quarter of 2014.

Additionally, as always, there were large variances between states in relation to the number of homes with negative equity. Nevada had the highest share of homes with negative equity in the 4th quarter, 18.7 percent. Florida, Illinois, Arizona, and Rhode Island rounded out the top five with shares of 17.1 percent, 14.6 percent, 14 percent, and 13.5 percent respectively.

But, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Texas, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Colorado led the way for states with the highest share of homes in positive equity with corresponding shares of 98 percent, 97.6 percent (for both Alaska and Hawaii), 97.3 percent, and 97.1 percent.

There are still around 9.5 million homes with less than 20 percent equity, which means these homeowners might have trouble refinancing their homes or getting financing if they want to sell and buy another property.

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