The equity picture is looking brighter for homeowners. At the end of 2016, there were 13.9 million U.S. properties – or nearly 25 percent of the housing stock with a mortgage -- that were considered equity-rich, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
Equity rich is when the loan on the property is 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value. The number of equity-rich properties has grown by 1.3 million homes compared to a year ago.
Where to Find the Equity Rich
The states with the highest share of equity-rich properties at the end of 2016 were:
- Hawaii: 37.8%
- Vermont: 36.9%
- California: 36%
- New York: 34.9%
- Oregon: 32%
On a metro-level, the following metros with a population of at least 500,000 had the highest share of equity-rich properties:
- San Jose, Calif.: 51.6%
- San Francisco: 47.7%
- Honolulu: 39.8%
- Los Angeles: 39.2%
- Pittsburgh, Pa.: 35.8%
The highest share of equity-rich properties were homes that had been owned more than 20 years, followed by those owned for between 15 to 20 years, ATTOM Data Solutions’ report shows.
“Since home prices bottomed out nationwide in the first quarter of 2012, the number of seriously underwater U.S. homeowners has decreased by about 7.1 million, an average decrease of about 1.4 million each year,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “Meanwhile, the number of equity rich homeowners has increased by nearly 4.8 million over the past three years, a rate of about 1.6 million each year.”
By the end of 2016, there were 5.4 million U.S. properties – or 9.6 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage – that were considered seriously underwater, in which the loan amount on the property was at least 25 percent higher than the property’s currently estimated market value. That marks a decrease of more than 1 million properties from a year ago.
Despite the decrease in seriously underwater borrowers over the past five years, “the massive loss of home equity during the housing crisis forced many homeowners to stay in their homes longer before selling, effectively disrupting the historical domino effect of move-up buyers that feeds both demand for new homes and supply of inventory for first-time homebuyers,” Blomquist says. “Between 2000 and 2008, our data shows the average homeownership tenure nationwide was 4.26 years, but that average tenure has been trending steadily higher since 2009, reaching a new record high of 7.88 years for homeowners who sold in 2016.”
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