Negative Equity Improves by Leaps and Bounds in U.S.

by Peter Thomas Ricci

The negative equity situation continued to improve by wide margins in the U.S. housing market, according to CoreLogic’s latest research.


The U.S. housing market’s equity situation continued to improve in 2013’s first quarter, with roughly 850,000 homes returning to a state of positive equity on the strength of home-price increases, according to the latest equity report from CoreLogic.

As of the first quarter, there are 9.7 million mortgages in negative equity, or 19.8 percent of all residential properties with mortgages; that’s down from 11.4 million in 2012’s first quarter, and represents a 15 percent decline.

CoreLogic Negative Equity Report

Mark Fleming, the chief economist for CoreLogic, said that 1.7 million borrowers have returned to positive equity in the last year, though the home price gains propelling the equity markets may taper off in the coming months.

“The impressive home price gains of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 have had a big impact on the distribution of residential home equity,” Fleming said. “During the past year, 1.7 million borrowers have regained positive equity. We expect the pent-up supply that falling negative equity releases will moderate price gains in many of the fast-appreciating markets this spring.”

Here in Chicago, the negative equity situation remained a bit more pronounced, with 34.2 percent of all mortgage properties in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area being underwater in the first quarter, the fourth highest such rating in the nation. Illinois on the whole, though, dropped out of the top five for statewide negative equity, though 29.2 percent of mortgaged homes are still underwater.

For further perspective on how the negative equity market has improved in the U.S., check out our infographic below:

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