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In Most Major Markets, Negative Equity Has Fallen By Half Since Peak of Crisis

More than 7 million homeowners have escaped negative equity since its peak in early 2012, both because of foreclosures and improving home values.

- U.S. negative equity fell to 16.9 percent in the third quarter, down significantly from its peak of 31.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

- The negative equity rate has halved in many of the metro areas hit hardest by the housing crisis, including Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Riverside, Calif., and Las Vegas.

- Zillow expects the negative equity rate will continue to fall to 15.2 percent by the end of the third quarter of 2015.

Dec 17, 2014

SEATTLE, Dec. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of U.S. homeowners upside down on their mortgages has fallen by more than 40 percent since early 2012, according to the third quarter Zillow® Negative Equity Reporti.

More than 7 million Americans who at one point owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth have escaped -- either by paying down their mortgage balance, short sale and foreclosure or because their home values improved. Roughly 8.7 million homeowners remain trapped underwater on their mortgages, but the negative equity rate has halved since 2012 in the markets hit hardest by the recession.

Declining negative equity will have a ripple effect in the housing market, allowing previously stuck homeowners to list their homes for sale and adding to overall for-sale inventory just as millennial buyers are expected to begin to enter the market en masse in coming months and years.

This new inventory will also help slow home value appreciation, which has been fueled by high demand for homes and low supply.

The negative equity rate fell to 16.9 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage in the third quarter, down from 21 percent in the third quarter of 2013. It is expectedii to fall to 15.2 percent by the end of the third quarter of 2015.

The effective negative equity rate, including homeowners without enough equity to realistically afford the costs of selling and buying a new home, was 35 percent in the third quarter.

"The market has made terrific strides since bottoming out in late 2011 and early 2012, with millions of underwater homeowners freed in just the past few years, and millions more set to surface in coming months and years," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "Looking at negative equity helps us understand so many of the currently out-of-whack dynamics in the housing market, including low inventory, rapid home value appreciation and weak sales volumes. None of these problems will be solved overnight, in large part because negative equity will likely be a part of the housing market for years, and easily into the next decade in some hard-hit areas. But we're moving in the right direction, and time will heal all wounds."

Owners of less expensive homes were more likely to be underwater in the third quarter than owners of more expensive homes – in some cases, much more likely. In Detroit, for example, 49.2 percent of homes valued in the bottom price tieriii were underwater, while just 7.6 percent of the area's highest-priced homes were upside down. Similarly, in Chicago, 41.4 percent of bottom-tier homes were in negative equity, compared to 23.9 percent of middle-tier homes and 10.4 percent of top-tier homes.

Nationwide, 27.4 percent of bottom-tier homes were in negative equity in the third quarter, compared to 15.7 percent of middle-tier homes and 9.3 percent of top-tier homes.

Metropolitan Area

Q3 2014 Negative Equity Rate

Peak Negative Equity Rate

Forecasted Negative Equity Rate in Q3 2015

Number of Homeowners in Negative Equity

% Change From Peak of Homeowners in Negative Equity

 UNITED STATES

16.9%

31.4%

15.2%

8,713,419

-44.6%

New York

13.6%

21.3%

12.8%

336,854

-36.3%

Los Angeles

9.4%

30.0%

8.4%

158,244

-68.8%

Chicago

25.3%

41.1%

23.7%

442,548

-38.5%

Dallas-Fort Worth

9.3%

30.7%

7.3%

99,030

-69.8%

Philadelphia

18.1%

25.4%

16.3%

202,962

-28.7%

Houston

7.4%

31.3%

6.8%

68,222

-76.3%

Washington

18.4%

33.0%

17.9%

207,431

-44.2%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale

20.1%

47%

19.0%

189,930

-57.2%

Atlanta

27.1%

55.2%

23.3%

285,124

-51.0%

Boston

9.6%

22.0%

9.5%

78,186

-56.6%

San Francisco

7.3%

30.7%

6.6%

50,666

-76.2%

Detroit

22.0%

51.2%

20.4%

182,912

-57.9%

Riverside

18.2%

53.4%

14.7%

122,156

-65.9%

Phoenix

21.7%

58.1%

19.9%

168,486

-62.6%

Seattle

16.2%

39.6%

13.3%

106,900

-59.1%

Minneapolis-St Paul

15.6%

39.9%

13.9%

107,785

-60.9%

San Diego

10.1%

35.6%

9.0%

46,875

-71.6%

St. Louis

22.7%

31.1%

21.0%

127,594

-26.9%

Tampa

22.0%

48.4%

20.1%

113,385

-54.6%

Baltimore

20.1%

31.4%

19.0%

107,502

-36.0%

Denver

8.2%

32.5%

7.0%

43,146

-74.8%

Pittsburgh

10.7%

17.5%

9.4%

45,990

-38.4%

Portland

11.2%

34.3%

9.1%

46,787

-67.4%

Sacramento

15.7%

51.2%

13.0%

59,002

-69.3%

San Antonio

12.2%

42.7%

10.4%

40,113

-71.5%

Orlando

21.9%

53.9%

19.2%

83,293

-59.4%

Cincinnati

18.7%

32%

16.7%

79,836

-40.9%

Cleveland

20.7%

33.9%

19.6%

83,357

-39.0%

Kansas City

20.7%

36.7%

18.6%

79,905

-36.5%

Las Vegas

27.8%

71%

24.4%

92,591

-60.9%

San Jose

4.5%

22.7%

3.7%

12,611

-80.2%

Columbus

17.6%

34.4%

15.9%

62,396

-48.8%

Charlotte

16.5%

36.8%

14.9%

58,860

-55.1%

Indianapolis

17.9%

29.9%

15.8%

64,752

-39.9%

Austin

8.0%

40.9%

6.9%

23,362

-80.5%

About Zillow, Inc.

Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) operates the largest home-related marketplaces on mobile and the web, with a complementary portfolio of brands and products that help people find vital information about homes, and connect with the best local professionals. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow's Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. Dr. Humphries and his team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Zillow also sponsors the bi-annual Zillow Housing Confidence Index (ZHCI) which measures consumer confidence in local housing markets, both currently and over time. The Zillow, Inc. portfolio includes Zillow.com®, Zillow Mobile, Zillow Mortgage Zillow Rentals, Zillow Digs®, Postlets®, Diverse Solutions®, Mortech®, HotPads™, StreetEasy® and Retsly™. The company is headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow.com, Zillow, Postlets, Mortech, Diverse Solutions, StreetEasy, and Digs are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc. HotPads and Retsly are trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

i The data in the Zillow Negative Equity Report incorporates mortgage data from TransUnion, a global leader in credit and information management, to calculate various statistics. The report includes, but is not limited to, negative equity, loan-to-value ratios, and delinquency rates. To calculate negative equity, the estimated value of a home is matched to all outstanding mortgage debt and lines of credit associated with the home, including home equity lines of credit and home equity loans. All personally identifying information ("PII") is removed from the data by TransUnion before delivery to Zillow. Overall, this report covers more than 870 metros, 2,400 counties, and 23,000 ZIP codes across the nation.

ii The Zillow Negative Equity Forecast is a conservative estimate of what negative equity rates will be a year from now. To forecast negative equity, we take the current home value of a house and appreciate it by the Zillow Home Value Forecast (ZHVF) for the MSA in which the home is located. In cases where there is no ZHVF available, we use the historical rate of home appreciation, and for metros that don't have a historical rate of appreciation, we use the historical rate of inflation at the national level. For homes that are not located in a metropolitan area, we use the forecasted national rate of appreciation. To calculate the level of home equity a year from now, we use the forecasted home value and the current outstanding debt balance, where we make no assumptions about a homeowner's debt level a year from now. We also make no assumptions about foreclosure activity in the coming year. Therefore, this forecast is a very conservative one, as homeowners will likely continue to pay down their debt throughout the year and homes will likely continue to be foreclosed on, and both of these factors will contribute to a lower negative equity rate. The Zillow Negative Equity Forecast can therefore be considered a higher bound estimate of negative equity.

iii Homes in each metropolitan region are assigned to the bottom, middle or top tier of homes based on their estimated home value. Each tier contains one-third of the homes in the metro region, and the thresholds defining each tier are computed separately for each metro.

 

SOURCE Zillow, Inc.

For further information: Emily Heffter, Zillow, 206-757-2701 or press@zillow.com


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