Nearly 2 million homeowners no longer ‘seriously’ underwater

Surging home prices have helped nearly two million homeowners get back above water on their mortgages over the past year.

During the first quarter, 9.1 million, or 17%, of homeowners were seriously underwater on their home, meaning their debt exceeded the home’s value by 25% or more, according to RealtyTrac. That’s down from 10.9 million, or 26%, of all properties a year earlier.

States with the highest percentage of seriously underwater homes included Nevada, Florida and Illinois.

RealtyTrac also found that fewer properties in foreclosure are underwater.

“Because of rising home prices, many of the homeowners in the foreclosure process — more than a third — actually have positive equity. That will enable some of them to avoid foreclosure,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president for RealtyTrac.

These homeowners could leverage the home’s value to either refinance or sell their home. “But many distressed homeowners with equity may not realize they have it and in some cases have vacated the property already, assuming that their foreclosure is inevitable,” he said.

Metro areas where more than half of the foreclosures actually have positive equity include Denver, Boston, Minneapolis, Houston and Washington, D.C.

RealtyTrac also reported that the number of “equity-rich” homeowners, those with 50% or more equity in their home, grew to 9.9 million in the first quarter. That represents 19% of all mortgaged homes.

These equity-rich homeowners could help further lift the housing market, said Blomquist. They could trade up for bigger and more expensive homes and put their old homes up for sale — opening up much needed housing for first-time buyers and those on tighter budgets.

Metro areas with the most equity-rich homes included San Jose, Calif., Honolulu, San Francisco, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and Los Angeles, RealtyTrac reported.

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About thenoelteam

As a Broker with RE/MAX Alliance, I work energetically for my clients whether they are a buyer or seller. I help you achieve your goal of owning a home or getting the best price for your home in the shortest time possible. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in communications and finance, I was licensed in 1977 and since then I have sold over 3600 properties amounting to over $1 billion in sales. I currently rank in the top 10 in home sales for Colorado. I offer the same quality of service and superior communication to all clients, ranging from starter homes to multi-million dollar estates, commercial and income properties, relocations and foreclosures My goal is to provide you with the best representation possible whether you are buying or selling. Over the years, one of the things that I've discovered is that there is a difference in the way individual Realtors do business. For me, I have always felt that honesty and personal integrity are the foundations upon which a successful business and career are built and sustained. I have an extensive background and knowledge base in real estate, including financing, which has enabled me to provide outstanding, quality advice and service not found with many agents today. My commitment to communication creates a positive relationship between my client and myself that results in a successful property sale or purchase. My passion for real estate, commitment to my clients and personal integrity has helped me to achieve success placing me in the top 1% of all brokers in nationwide. In my career, I have earned a number of awards and received considerable recognition for my success but the most significant recognition comes from the fact that over 75% of my business comes from past clients. My success is a true measure of my client satisfaction.
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