ATTOM: Portion of Equity-Rich Homes Dips Slightly in Q4

(Image courtesy of Lisa Fotios/

ATTOM, Irvine, Calif., released its fourth-quarter 2023 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, showing 46.1% of mortgaged residential properties in the U.S. were considered equity-rich, a slight drop from 47.4% in the third quarter.

ATTOM defines equity-rich as properties where the combined estimated amount of loan balances secured by the properties are no more than half of their estimated market values.

The 46.1% result was also a slight drop from 48% in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Simultaneously, the share of mortgaged homes seriously underwater in the U.S. rose from 2.5% to 2.6% in the quarter. ATTOM defines seriously underwater mortgages as those with combined estimated balances of loans secured by properties that are at least 25% more than those properties’ estimated market values.

“There are increasing signs suggesting that the extended period of prosperity in the U.S. housing market may be showing signs of easing,” said Rob Barber, CEO for ATTOM. “It’s not as if there are big warning signs flashing. Similar things were happening early last year before the market surged in the spring. But the softening of equity follows a dip in resale profits last year for the first time in more than a decade as prices have stopped soaring through the roof. This year’s peak buying season will tell us a lot about whether things really have settled down long-term.”

In terms of location, the portion of mortgages that were equity-rich decreased in more than 40 states, with the biggest declines in the Midwest and West regions. States that saw equity-rich increases were largely in the Northeast.

Overall, the highest levels of equity-rich homeowners tend to be in the Northeast and West, with Vermont (at 82.8% of mortgaged homes deemed equity-rich) leading the pack. Rounding out the top five are Maine (60%), California (58.2%), New Hampshire (58%) and Idaho (57.6%).

The smallest portions of equity-rich mortgaged properties were Louisiana (19.7%), Illinois (28%), Alaska (29.2%), Oklahoma (30%) and Maryland (30.2%).

The portion of mortgaged homes that were seriously underwater rose in most states, largely in the Midwest and South.

The top five states for seriously underwater properties were Louisiana (10.9%), Wyoming (8.8%), Mississippi (8%), Kentucky (6.3%) and Missouri (5.6%). The smallest share were Vermont (0.7%), New Hampshire (1%), Rhode Island (1%), Massachusetts (1.2%) and California (1.3%).