Number of houses underwater is rising

Are a lot of people going to be locked into their homes? USA Today has this:

The number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth rose at the end of last year, preventing many people from selling their homes in an already weak housing market.

CoreLogic said Tuesday that about 11.1 million households, or 23% of mortgaged homes, were underwater in the October-December quarter. That's up from 22.5%, or 10.8 million households, in the July-September quarter.

The number of underwater mortgages had fallen in the previous three quarters. But that was mostly because more homes went into foreclosure.

Underwater mortgages typically rise when home prices fall. Home prices in December hit their lowest point of the housing bust in 11 of 20 major U.S. metro areas. In a healthy housing market, about 5% of homeowners are underwater.

About 2.4 million people have only 5% equity or less in their homes, putting them near the tipping point if prices in their area fall.

Roughly two-thirds of homeowners with a mortgage in Nevada had negative home equity, worst state in the country. Arizona, Florida, Michigan and California were next, with nearly half of homeowners with mortgages in those states underwater.

Oklahoma had the smallest percentage of underwater homeowners in the October-December quarter, at 5.8%. Only nine states recorded percentages less than 10%.

When a mortgage is underwater, the homeowner often can't qualify for mortgage refinancing and has little recourse but to continue making payments in hopes the property eventually regains its value. . . .



Blogger Unknown said...

We're one of them. It's a crying shame to be in this position, but we haven't been able to sell our home and have been tied up in refinance and aid program applications for months with no help in sight.

Loan restructures through lenders are denying applications based on frivolous reasons such as "P&L statements handwritten instead of typed". I wish I was making that up.

3/09/2011 2:04 PM  

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