More than 1 in 4 mortgaged properties were considered to be equity rich in the fourth quarter of 2019 according to the latest U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report by the real estate data company ATTOM Data Solutions. 

Making the Cut

A total of 14.5 million homes within the United States, 26.7% of mortgaged properties, were considered to be equity rich. For a home to be classified as “equity rich”, the combined estimated amounts of loans on the property must be 50% or less of the property’s market value. While this share was unchanged from the third quarter of the year, the figure is up from 25.6% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

On the other hand, 6.4% of mortgaged properties were considered to be underwater. “Underwater” homes have combined loans on the home that are worth at least 25% more than the property’s market value. This share has inched down from 6.4% in the third quarter of the year and is also down 2.4 percentage points from the previous year.

Good News for New York

The highest shares of equity rich properties during Q3 2019 were located in both the Northeast and the West:

  • California                 +40.8%

  • Hawaii                      +39.2%

  • Vermont                   +39.0%

  • New York                 +35.7%

  • Washington             +35.6%

States with the lowest percentages of equity-rich properties were located primarily in the midwest and southeast regions. 

Commenting on the Current Dynamics 

Positive news for the housing market is always welcome. Todd Teta, chief product officer for ATTOM Data Solutions, responded with the following to the current housing trends, 

The latest numbers reveal another profound impact of the extended housing boom, as far more homeowners find themselves on the right side of the balance sheet instead of the wrong side. This is a complete turnabout from what was happening when the housing market crashed during the Great Recession. There are notable equity gaps between regions and market segments. But as home values keep climbing, homeowners are seeing their equity building more and more, while those with properties still worth a lot less than their mortgages represent just a small segment of the market.

ATTOM Data Solutions' Home Equity and Underwater reports calculate equity based on an automated valuation model and publicly recorded mortgage data. The reports pull from a nationwide database of more than 155 million properties.