Homes Are Gaining Equity Again

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ATTOM Data Solutions released its Year-End 2016 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, which shows that as of the end of 2016 there were 5.4 million (5,408,323) U.S. properties seriously underwater — where the combined loan amount secured by the property was at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value — a decrease of more than 1 million properties (1,028,058) from a year ago.

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The 5.4 million seriously underwater properties at the end of 2016 represented 9.6 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, down from 10.8 percent at the end of Q3 2016 and down from 11.5 percent at the end of 2015 to the lowest level since ATTOM Data Solutions began tracking in Q1 2012.

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The report is based on publicly recorded mortgage and deed of trust data collected and licensed by ATTOM Data Solutions nationwide along with an industry standard automated valuation model (AVM) updated monthly in the ATTOM Data Warehouse of more than 150 million U.S. properties.

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“Since home prices bottomed out nationwide in the first quarter of 2012, the number of seriously underwater U.S. homeowners has decreased by about 7.1 million, an average decrease of about 1.4 million each year,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “Meanwhile, the number of equity rich homeowners has increased by nearly 4.8 million over the past three years, a rate of about 1.6 million each year.

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“Despite this upward trend over the past five years, the massive loss of home equity during the housing crisis forced many homeowners to stay in their homes longer before selling, effectively disrupting the historical domino effect of move-up buyers that feeds both demand for new homes and supply of inventory for first-time homebuyers,” Blomquist noted. “Between 2000 and 2008, our data shows the average homeownership tenure nationwide was 4.26 years, but that average tenure has been trending steadily higher since 2009, reaching a new record high of 7.88 years for homeowners who sold in 2016.”

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