Positive News About Negative Equity


It’s been like a slow-burning fuse, but last week it seemed to surface in headline bursts all over the place: a large portion of the American public has just about had it with Covid-19. Those controversies are far from settled, but on top of the other problems engendered by the pandemic and the measures taken to slow its spread, there are all the rest of trying situations that seem to plague day-to-day life. Slow wi-fi. Potholes. Junk phone calls. Grocery tabs. I’m happy to report that, as for real estate realm, when you take a step back to survey all that’s going on in the housing sector, it can be fairly said that even the negative news is strong, sunny, and positive as all get-out!

There is (as you probably suspect) a qualifier for that negative-is-positive assertion. It has to be limited to one area: housing’s negative equity situation. Negative equity is the result when a home’s current liability exceeds its asset value—when the mortgage owed is greater than the home’s likely value were it to be sold today. The positive news is that the total negative equity for all the homes in America has nosedived: in other words, homeowners are sitting on a huge amount of positive equity. For the scorekeepers, the plunge in that negative couldn’t be more of a financial upper!

According to CoreLogic.com‘s most recent report, only 3% of all U.S. mortgaged properties belong in the negative equity column. On a year-over-year basis, negative equity plunged 28.9%. Given the robust performance of “homes sold” last year, that’s not too surprising. And in fact, the latest report doesn’t cover the most recent numbers, which are expected to do even better.

It’s worth noting when even some negative news is good for homeowners—even if it’s only one kind of ‘negative.’ As we head into a traditionally busy selling season, if your own outlook might include real estate activity of your own, call a professional and get an idea of what to expect.