- CoreLogic releases national negative equity report.
- Negative equity found in 5% of mortgages in Colorado.
- Negative equity national rate was 10.3%
A snapshot of negative equity, state by state. Source: CoreLogic
Negative equity was one of the biggest hurdles facing Denver-area homeowners a few years ago.
That is, the loan was worth more than the house,. Negative equity often is referred to as being “underwater” or “upside down” on their mortgage.
In Colorado, only 5 percent of the home mortgages have negative equity, according to a national report released on Thursday by CoreLogic.
Colorado’s negative equity rate was half the national negative equity rate of 10.3 percent in the third quarter of last year, according to CoreLogic. CoreLogic also publishes the influential and closely watched Case-Shiller index of 20 major markets.
In Colorado, there are 1.175 million mortgages and of those, 58,827 have negative equity, according to CoreLogic. There are another 26,150 with “near” negative equity.
Rapid appreciation of homes, tighter mortgage underwriting standards and a record-low supply of homes have made negative equity virtually a thing of the past, said Greg Geller, chairman of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.
“The biggest challenge we are facing right now is the lack of inventory on the market,” said Geller, principal of Vision Denver Real Estate.
Indeed, on Tuesday, REcolorado (formerly Metrolist), reported that there were only 5,352 homes on the market in December. An analysis by InsideRealEstateNews.com shows that is the lowest inventory on record in the metro ara.
“With so few homes on the market and still really strong demand from buyers, that is driving up the price of homes,” Geller said.
“So it is no surprise at all that negative equity in Colorado is half the national average,” Geller said.
In 2010, it was estimated that one out of every five homes with a mortgage in the Denver area had negative equity.
Anyone who bought a home from 2010 to 2012 would be very happy today, Geller said.
Negative equity in 2010 hit 1 out of very 5 households in the Denver area. Now, negate equity is found in 5% of homes with mortgages in Colorado. Source: CoreLogic.
“If you bought a home for $200,000, it would be worth $325,000 to $350,000 today…maybe more, in some neighborhoods,” Geller said.
Even people who bought in 2007, before the worst of the meltdown hit, have seen their homes appreciate, he noted.
“If you bought your home in 2007 and 2008, unless there was some extraordinary circumstances, I would say nearly 100 percent of them are worth more today,” Geller said.
Also, he said he thinks most people who refinanced in recent years simply did it to advantage of historically low rates to reduce their monthly payments and not to take out money to splurge on things like vacations, cars and big-screen TVs, like they did before the national housing crash.
Geller’s company snapped up a lot distressed properties with negative equity during the downturn, fixed them up and sold them for a profit.
“Traveling around the county, I’ve found that in other cities people do not do as nice of a job as renovating homes as we do in Denver,” Geller said.
In Denver, for example, he said that Vision and other “fix and flippers” often would put in granite countertops and wood floors.
“In other cities, they would get them what I call “rental ready,” which is kind of the bare minimum,” he said.
“In Denver, we are unique in that we make them “showroom ready.” That has added value to our housing stock, which is another factor as far as having few homes with negative equity,” he said.
Nationally, CoreLogic found almost 273,000 U.S. homes returned to positive equity in the third quarter. That brings the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity to approximately 44.6 million, or 90 percent of all mortgaged properties.
Colorado’s mortgages accounted for 2.36 percent of all the mortgages in the country. Colorado, however, accounted for only 1.15 percent of the approximately 5.1 million homes with negative equity.
Nationwide negative equity snapshot
Nationwide, borrower equity increased year over year by approximately $800 billion in the third quarter. Colorado’s share of that would be $18.8 billion, but it probably is more than that because housing prices are higher than the national average.
In the third quarter of 2013, the negative equity share of homes with mortgages was 13.3 percent, or 6.5 million homes, nationally. In other words, there was a decrease of almost 1.5 million homes with negative equity on a year-over-year basis.
For the homes in negative equity status, the national aggregate value of negative equity was $338 billion at the end of the third quarter, down $10.2 billion from approximately $348.2 billion in the second quarter 2014. On a year-over-year basis, the value of negative equity declined from $403.2 billion in the third quarter of 2013, representing a decrease of 16.2 percent in 12 months.
Of the 44.6 million residential properties with positive equity, approximately 9.4 million, or 19 percent, have less than 20-percent equity (referred to as “under-equitied”) and 1.3 million of those have less than 5-percent equity (referred to as near-negative equity).
Borrowers who are “under-equitied” may have a more difficult time refinancing their existing homes or obtaining new financing to sell and buy another home due to underwriting constraints.
Borrowers with near-negative equity are considered at risk of moving into negative equity if home prices fall. In contrast, if home prices rose by as little as 5 percent, an additional 1 million homeowners now in negative equity would regain equity.
“Nationally, the negative equity share is down over three percentage points over the past year. Declines were concentrated in a handful of states, such as Nevada, Georgia, Michigan and Florida,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic. “Forecasted house price appreciation of about five percent over the next year suggests that negative equity should be at about 8 percent a year from now, still above average, but approaching the pre-crisis level.”
“Negative equity continued to decrease in the third quarter as did the level of homes mired in the foreclosure process. This should hopefully translate into less friction in the housing market as we move forward,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Better fundamentals supporting homeownership in the face of higher rents should attract more first-time homebuyers to the market this year and next.”
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee Co. and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.