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Equity Gains Uneven, Depending on Price Point and Geography

Monday, April 4, 2016

Negative equity levels in the U.S. have dropped to rates last seen since 2006.  However Black Knight Financial Services points out that, while improvement continues on a national basis, the recovery from previous high rates of negative equity "is decidedly imbalanced in terms of both home price levels and geography."

In the current edition of its Mortgage Monitor Black Knight said that, based on February data, 6.5 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage remain underwater, that is owning more on their mortgage than the market value of their home.  This equates to 3.2 million borrowers and represents $126 billion in negative first and second mortgage debt. While the number of underwater borrowers declined by 31 percent over the course of 2015, over half of underwater homes are in the bottom 20 percent of homes by price in their respective markets. Among that lowest home price tier the negative equity position is nearly 10 percentage points higher than the national number (16.2 percent) and improving at a slower pace that all other tiers.

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