ATTOM: A Quarter of Mortgaged U.S. Homes Are Equity-Rich


ATTOM Data Solutions’ second-quarter 2020 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report shows that 15.2 million residential properties in the U.S. were considered equity-rich, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50 percent or less of their estimated market value.

The count of equity-rich properties in the second quarter of 2020 represented 27.5 percent, or about one in four, of the 55.2 million mortgaged homes in the U.S. That was up from the 26.5 percent level in the first quarter of 2020, despite the spreading economic fallout from the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

The report also shows that just 3.4 million, or one in 16, mortgaged homes in the second quarter of 2020 were considered seriously underwater, with a combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property at least 25 percent more than the property’s estimated market value. That figure represented 6.2 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, down from 6.6 percent in the prior quarter.

Among the 50 states, 49 showed an increase in the percentage of homes considered equity-rich while just three showed an increase in the percentage that were seriously underwater.

The second-quarter home equity picture reflects a housing market that put out strong but mixed signals amid a nationwide economic slowdown aimed at battling the spread of a pandemic that began surging across the country in February and March of this year. Unemployment spiked and sales slumped from April through June, but single-family home equity remained strong as most housing markets saw prices rise on properties that did sell.

“Homeowners saw their equity rise far and wide throughout the United States during the second quarter of this year in yet another sign of the housing market punching back against the Coronavirus pandemic. More property owners rose into equity-rich territory and escaped the seriously underwater lane, putting more money into the average household,” says Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions.

“The housing market still faces enormous challenges, given that unemployment remains historically high and the broader economy contracted severely in the second quarter,” he adds. “If that continues, owner equity will be seriously threatened. But for now, homeowners are enjoying the gains when it comes to what, for most, is their most significant asset.”

Photo: Todd Teta

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