‘Equity-Rich’ Homes Increase

More than 14 million U.S. properties were “equity rich”–meaning loans secured by the property were 50 percent or less of market value–in the second quarter, reported ATTOM Data Solutions, Irvine, Calif.

The equity rich figure grew by nearly 320,000 properties from the previous quarter and by more than 1.6 million properties from a year ago.

“An increasing number of U.S. homeowners are amassing impressive stockpiles of home equity wealth, enjoying the benefits of rapidly rising home prices while staying conservative when it comes to cashing out on their equity,” said ATTOM Data Solutions Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Blomquist said homeowners are staying in their homes nearly twice as long before selling as they did prior to the Great Recession, and the volume of home equity lines of credit are about one-third of what they were during the last housing boom. “However, this home equity wealth is unevenly distributed across different geographies, value ranges, occupancy statuses and lengths of ownership, with a disproportionately high equity rich share among high-end properties, investor-owned properties and properties owned for more than 20 years,” he said.

The 14 million equity-rich U.S. properties represented 24.6 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, up from 24.3 percent in the previous quarter and up from 22.1 percent in second-quarter 2016, ATTOM reported.

The report also found more than 5.4 million U.S. properties are still “seriously underwater”–where the combined loan amount secured by the property was at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value. But this figure fell by more than 64,000 properties from the previous quarter and by more than 1.2 million from a year ago.