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Friday, February 28, 2014

Zillow: Negative Equity declines further in Q4 2013

by Calculated Risk on 2/28/2014 01:14:00 PM

From Zillow: Negative Equity Crosses 20 Percent Threshhold to End 2013

According to the fourth quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report, the national negative equity rate dipped below 20 percent to 19.4 percent for the first time in years, thereby reducing negative equity by roughly a third from its 31.4 percent peak in the first quarter of 2012. Negative equity has fallen for seven consecutive quarters as home values have risen, freeing almost 3.9 million homeowners nationwide in 2013. The national negative equity rate fell from 27.5 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, and 21 percent in the third quarter. However, more than 9.8 million homeowners with a mortgage still remain underwater.
emphasis added
The following graph from Zillow shows negative equity by Loan-to-Value (LTV) in Q4 2013 compared to Q4 2012.

Zillow Negative EquityClick on graph for larger image.

From Zillow:
Figure 6 shows the loan-to-value (LTV) distribution for homeowners with a mortgage in 2013 Q4 versus 2012 Q4. Even though many homeowners are still underwater and haven’t crossed the 100 percent LTV threshold to enter into positive equity, they are moving in the right direction.
Almost half of the borrowers with negative equity have a LTV of 100% to 120% (the light red columns). Most of these borrowers are current on their mortgages - and they have probably either refinanced with HARP or the loans are well seasoned (most of these properties were purchased in the 2004 through 2006 period, so borrowers have been current for eight years or so). In a few years, these borrowers will have positive equity.

The key concern is all those borrowers with LTVs above 140% (about 6.5% of properties with a mortgage according to Zillow). It will take many years to return to positive equity ... and a large percentage of these properties will eventually be distressed sales (short sales or foreclosures).

Note: CoreLogic will release their Q4 negative equity report in the next couple of weeks. For Q3, CoreLogic reported there were 6.4 million properties with negative equity, and that will be down further in Q4.