Regional trends found in underwater homes

According to a report by real estate website Zillow, the percent of homeowners with negative equity is on the decline. As of the second quarter, 30.9 percent of homeowners with a mortgage are underwater, down from 31.4 percent last quarter. 

August 24, 2012

According to a report by real estate website Zillow, the percent of homeowners with negative equity is on the decline. As of the second quarter, 30.9 percent of homeowners with a mortgage are underwater, down from 31.4 percent last quarter. This percent remains elevated from 2011’s second quarter level of 30 percent.

The website also reports underwater homeowners owe an average of $75,235 more than their homes’ value. About 4.5 percent of underwater homeowners owe more than double what their home is worth. However, nearly 91 percent of underwater homeowners are current on their mortgage and make regular payments.

The report included regional trends of underwater mortgages across the United States. Especially high rates of negative equity are reported in the southwest, particularly in California, Nevada, and Arizona, and in the southeastern states of Florida and Georgia.

Las Vegas leads metropolitan areas with the highest percent of homeowners with negative equity (68.5 percent). Other high metro areas include Atlanta (54.4 percent), Orlando, Fla. (51.9 percent), and Phoenix (51.6 percent). Read the rest of the Zillow report here.

Analysts at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) took the data and compared it with demographic information of the areas with the highest and lowest rates of underwater mortgages. According to The Atlantic Cities, strong correlations were found between unemployment rates and income devoted to housing costs of certain areas and percent of underwater homes. Additionally, researchers found a negative correlation between levels of happiness and percent of underwater homeowners across all metro areas. 

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