Equity-rich Properties Comprise 27 Percent of All Mortgaged Homes in U.S.
Highest Equity Levels Remain in San Francisco Bay Area in Q4, 2019
According to ATTOM Data Solutions' fourth-quarter 2019 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, 14.5 million residential properties in the United States were considered equity-rich, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50 percent or less of their estimated market value.
The count of equity-rich properties in the fourth quarter of 2019 represented 26.7 percent, or about one in four, of the 54.5 million mortgaged homes in the U.S. That percentage was unchanged from the third quarter of 2019.
The report also shows that just 3.5 million, or one in 16, mortgaged homes in the fourth quarter of 2019 were considered seriously underwater, with a combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property at least 25 percent more than the property's estimated market value. That figure represented 6.4 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, down slightly from 6.5 percent in the prior quarter.
"Homeownership continued boosting household balance sheets across the United States in the fourth quarter of 2019, as people paying off mortgages were much more likely to be in equity-rich territory than seriously underwater. That marked yet another sign of how much the country has benefited from an eight-year housing-market boom," said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. "Some big gaps in equity levels persist between regions and market segments. But as home values keep climbing, financial resources keep building for homeowners, which provides them with leverage to make home repairs, help their children through college or take on other major expenses."
Highest equity-rich shares all in the Northeast and West
The top 10 states with the highest share of equity-rich properties in the fourth quarter of 2019 were all in the Northeast and West regions, led by California (42.8 percent equity-rich), Vermont (39.2 percent), Hawaii (38.8 percent), Washington (35.4 percent) and New York (35.1 percent).
States with the lowest percentage of equity-rich properties were Louisiana (13.6 percent equity-rich), Oklahoma (14.9 percent), Illinois (15.3 percent), Arkansas (16.3 percent) and Alabama (16.5 percent).
Among 107 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report with a population greater than 500,000, those with the highest shares of equity-rich properties were San Jose, CA (65.9 percent equity-rich); San Francisco, CA (57.5 percent); Los Angeles, CA (47.8 percent); Santa Rosa, CA (45.9 percent) and Honolulu, HI (39.3 percent). The leader in the Northeast region was Boston, MA, (35.6 percent) while Dallas, TX, led the South (36.5 percent) and Grand Rapids, MI, led in the Midwest (27.4 percent).
Metro areas with the lowest percentage of equity-rich properties were Baton Rouge, LA (10.8 percent equity-rich); Little Rock, AR (13.4 percent); Tulsa, OK (13.7 percent); Columbia, SC (13.9 percent) and Akron, OH (14.6 percent).
Top equity-rich counties concentrated in California
Among the 1,467 counties with at least 2,500 properties with mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2019, 11 of the top 25 equity-rich locations were in California.
Counties with the highest share of equity-rich properties were San Mateo, CA (73.6 percent equity-rich); San Francisco, CA (70.1 percent); Santa Clara (San Jose), CA (66.9 percent); San Juan, WA (63.5 percent) and Alameda County, CA (outside San Francisco) (57.7 percent).
More than half of all properties were equity-rich in 451 zip codes
Among 8,262 U.S. zip codes with at least 2,000 properties with mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2019, there were 451 zip codes where at least half of all properties with a mortgage were equity rich.
The top 25 were all in California, with most in the San Francisco Bay area. They were led by zip codes 94116 in San Francisco (82.6 percent equity-rich), 94040 in Mountain View (81.7 percent), 94122 in San Francisco (80.6 percent), 94112 in San Francisco (80.1 percent) and 94087 in Sunnyvale (79.5 percent).
Highest seriously underwater shares in the South and Midwest
The top 10 states with the highest shares of mortgages that were seriously underwater in the fourth quarter of 2019 were all in the South and Midwest, led by Louisiana (16.8 percent seriously underwater), Mississippi (16.0 percent), West Virginia (13.9 percent), Iowa (13.5 percent) and Arkansas (12.9 percent).
Among 107 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report with a population greater than 500,000, those with the highest share of mortgages that were seriously underwater included Youngstown, OH (16.2 percent); Baton Rouge, LA (15.9 percent); Scranton, PA (15 percent); Cleveland, OH (13.7 percent) and Akron, OH (13.4 percent).
More than 25 percent of all properties were seriously underwater in 149 zip codes
Among 8,262 U.S. zip codes with at least 2,000 properties with mortgages in the fourth quarter, there were 149 zip codes where at least a quarter of all properties with a mortgage were seriously underwater. The largest number of those zip codes were in the Cleveland, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Milwaukee, WI; Rockford, IL, and St. Louis, MO, metropolitan statistical areas.
The top five zip codes with the highest share of seriously underwater properties were 71446 in Leesville, LA (65.7 percent seriously underwater); 44110 in Cleveland, OH (59.6 percent); 08611 in Trenton, NJ (58.7 percent); 53206 in Milwaukee, WI (58.6 percent) and 44105 in Cleveland, OH (54.2 percent).