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Negative Equity Decreases Slightly

June 9, 2011

The number of residential properties with a mortgage in negative equity decreased slightly during the first quarter compared to the final quarter of 2010, according to a report released by CoreLogic..

The report shows that 10.9 million residential properties, or 22.7 percent, had negative equity. This is down from 11.1 million, or 23.1 percent, in the fourth quarter. An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity, in the first quarter. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for 27.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide. In the fourth quarter, these two categories stood at 27.9 percent.

Negative equity, often referred to as “underwater” or “upside down,” means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both.

Data Highlights

Nevada had the highest negative equity percentage with 63 percent of all mortgaged properties underwater, followed by Arizona (50 percent), Florida (46 percent), Michigan (36 percent) and California (31 percent). The negative equity share in the top 5 states was 39 percent, down from 40 percent in the fourth quarter. Excluding the top 5 states, the negative equity share was 16 percent in the current and previous quarter.

Although the slight decline in the national negative equity share was primarily due to slight improvements in the hardest hit states, which include Nevada (-2.7 percentage points), Arizona (-1.3 percentage points) and Florida (-1.3 percentage points), the majority of states either remained unchanged or had minor increases.

Las Vegas led the nation with a 66 percent negative equity share, followed by Stockton (56 percent), Phoenix (55 percent), Modesto (55 percent) and Reno (54 percent). Outside metropolitan areas in the top five negative equity states, the metropolitan markets with the highest negative equity shares include Greeley, Colo., (38 percent), Boise (36 percent), and Atlanta (35 percent).



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