ATTOM: Equity-Rich Homeowners Increase by 2.6 Million in 3Q


Some good news, some not-so-good news in a report from ATTOM Data Solutions, Irvine, Calif.

First, the good news: the company’s third-quarter U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report said 13.125 million homeowners were “equity-rich” in the third quarter, an increase of more than 2.6 million in the three months. The figure represents more than 23 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage.

The report also noted home prices rose for the 18th consecutive quarter; the average homeownership tenure rose to 7.94 years, substantially higher than the average tenure of 4.26 million, pre-recession.

“As homeowners stay in their homes longer before moving up, they are amassing more home equity wealth,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM. “Close to one in every five U.S. homeowners with a mortgage is now equity rich thanks to a combination of rising home prices and lengthening homeownership tenures.”

ATTOM reported 6.063 million households still underwater (loan-to-value ratio of 125 or higher) at the end of the third quarter, representing 10.8 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage. This is down by 854,000 homeowners from a year ago and down by nearly half from the peak of 12.8 million (28.6 percent) of seriously underwater homeowners in second quarter 2012.

The report said among 88 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 500,000 or more, those with the highest share of equity rich homeowners were San Jose (55.7 percent); San Francisco (49.8 percent); Honolulu (39.3 percent); Los Angeles (38.2 percent); and Pittsburgh (34.5 percent).

Seven metro areas noted the share of equity rich homeowners increased by more than 10 percentage points from a year ago in the third quarter: San Francisco (up 11.9 percentage points); San Jose (up 11.9 percentage points); Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (up 11.5 percentage points); Portland, Oregon (up 11.2 percentage points); Denver (up 11.2 percentage points); Austin, Texas (up 10.8 percentage points); and Seattle (up 10.8 percentage points).

Now, the not-so-good news: the share of seriously underwater homeowners was 20 percent or higher in seven of the 88 metro areas analyzed in the report: Las Vegas (25.0 percent); Akron, Ohio (24.2 percent); Cleveland, Ohio (22.8 percent); Toledo, Ohio (21.7 percent); Dayton, Ohio (20.2 percent); Detroit (20.0 percent); and Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. (20.0 percent).

Counter to the national trend, the share of seriously underwater homeowners increased from a year ago in 21 of the 88 metro areas analyzed, including Akron; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; and Little Rock, Ark.

Among 6,911 U.S. ZIP codes analyzed in report, 17 posted seriously underwater rates of 66 percent or higher, including Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Columbus, Ohio; East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Trenton, N.J.; Cleveland; and Milwaukee.