Quarter of mortgaged US homes 'in negative equity'

Nearly a quarter of all homes with mortgages in the US are in negative equity, figures showed today.

Nearly a quarter of all homes with mortgages in the US are in negative equity, figures showed today.

First American CoreLogic, a real estate data company, found 7.6 million properties in the country were worth less than the mortgage as of September 30, while another 2.1 million were within striking distance.

The 20 areas hardest hit by this were all in four states: Nevada, California, Florida, and Arizona.

In Nevada, almost half (48%) of homes were in negative equity, by far the worst situation of any state in the country – 291,190 homes were in negative equity across the state.

In the Clark County postal code area 89166, one of the hardest-hit areas on the northern outskirts of Las Vegas, 87% of mortgages were with negative equity and the average amount owed above the current home value was $37,760 (€30,116).

In California, 27% of mortgages – almost 1.8 million homes – were with negative equity, compared with 29% in Florida and Arizona, 1.2 million and 275,469 homes respectively.

In California’s Mountain House region, plunging home prices have led to almost 90% of homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their houses are worth.

First American’s chief economist Mark Fleming said people were rooted in their homes.

“Most people pay very little attention to what their equity stake is if they can make the mortgage,” he told the New York Times.

“They think it’s a bummer if the value has gone down, but they are rooted in their house.”

The data company evaluated 42 million residential properties with mortgages and a computer model was used to calculate current values, using comparable sales.

More than 10 million homes across the US do not have mortgages.

Seven states – Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming – were excluded from the figures due to insufficient data, but none of these have been central to the mortgage crisis engulfing the nation.

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