Based on CoreLogic's latest Homeowner Equity Report for the second quarter of 2021, U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 63% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 29.3% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $2.9 trillion, and an average gain of $51,500 per borrower, since the second quarter of 2020.
By June 2021, consumer confidence had risen to its highest level since the onset of the pandemic. This positive sentiment was echoed by current mortgage holders in a recent CoreLogic consumer survey, which found that 59% of respondents feel extremely confident in their ability to keep current on their mortgage payments in the coming year.
Thanks to ongoing government provisions, increased vaccine availability -- enabling many to return to work and a steady income -- and record homeowner equity gains, most borrowers have been able to remain current on their mortgage payments. Additionally, the majority of borrowers that fell behind on payments have a large home equity cushion that will help them avoid foreclosure.
"The growth in homeowner equity provides a strong financial cushion for tens of millions Americans. For those most impacted by the pandemic, equity gains will help play a critical role in staving off foreclosure," said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Based on projected increases in economic activity and home values over the next year, we expect to see further gains in equity and a corresponding drop in negative equity, forbearance rates and foreclosure."
"Home equity wealth is at a record level and will bolster economic activity in the coming year," said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Higher wealth spurs additional consumer expenditures and also supports room additions and other investments in homes, adding to overall economic activity."
Negative equity, also referred to as underwater or upside down mortgages, applies to borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth. As of the second quarter of 2021, negative equity share, and the quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year changes, were as follows:
Because home equity is affected by home price changes, borrowers with equity positions near (+/- 5%) the negative equity cutoff are most likely to move out of or into negative equity as prices change, respectively. Looking at the second quarter of 2021 book of mortgages, if home prices increase by 5%, 160,000 homes would regain equity; if home prices decline by 5%, 211,000 would fall underwater.