Underwater properties have continued to sink in numbers, according to the recently released RealtyTrac® Q3 2015 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report. The new data shows that as of the end of the third quarter there were 6,917,673 U.S. residential properties seriously underwater — where the combined loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value — representing 12.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage.
The third quarter underwater numbers were down from 7,443,580 seriously underwater homes representing 13.3 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the previous quarter and at the lowest level for both total mortgages and share of mortgages since RealtyTrac began tracking underwater data in the first quarter of 2012. The number and share of seriously underwater homes peaked in the second quarter of 2012 at 12,824,729 seriously homes representing 28.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage.
As of the end of the third quarter there were 10,476,259 U.S. residential properties that were equity rich — with at least 50 percent equity — 19.2 percent of all properties with a mortgage. That was down from 10,963,041 equity rich properties representing 19.6 percent of all properties with a mortgage in the second quarter and down from 10,812,968 equity rich properties representing 20.1 percent of all properties with a mortgage in the third quarter of 2014.
“After a lull late last year and early this year, home sales volume and average sales prices picked up dramatically again in the second and third quarters of this year, resulting in a substantial drop in seriously underwater homeowners,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “On the other hand, the number and share of equity rich homeowners also dropped dramatically between the second and third quarters — continuing a trend from the previous two quarters — evidence that more homeowners in this category are leveraging their equity through a refinance, move-up sale or by completely cashing out of the housing market.”
For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com.