Report Shows Little Improvement in Underwater Homeowners

Dennis Norman St Louis

Negative equity is the dominant factor driving the real estate market according to CoreLogic in it’s “U.S. Housing and Market Trends” report that was released today. According to the report, as of the 4th quarter of 2010, over 11 million (23 percent) of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage were in a negative equity position, meaning they owe more on their mortgages than the current value of their home.

The other 800lb gorilla in the room is shadow inventory, which has declined slightly in the past year, but is projected by CoreLogic to “remain elevated for an extended period of time. This is due to the fact that there are still over 2 million borrowers that have very “deep negative equity” but are not delinquent on their loans. If the market was showing signs of recovery and prices improving this wouldn’t be as concerning, but the report shows that the transition rate of non-delinquent loans into delinquency is largely impacted by declining home prices. Since home prices are continuing to decline, this is a concern.

Other highlights from the report:

  • 45,000 REO Sales in January 2011, down 18 percent from January, 2010 when there were 55,000
  • 16,000 Short Sales in January 2011, down 5.9 percent from January 2010 when there were 17,000
  • Distressed sales accounted for 34.5 percent of home sales, up 11.6 percent from January 2010 when distressed sales accounted for 30.9 percent of home sales
  • Foreclosure rate in January 2011 was 3.6 percent, up 16 percent from January 2010 when it was 3.1 percent.
  • 23 percent of homeowners with a mortgage had negative equity in January 2011, just slightly better than January 2010 when it was 23.7 percent.

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