Number underwater drops below 30 percent

November 15, 2012|By Steve Kilar | The Baltimore Sun

The percentage of homeowners with underwater mortgages in metro Baltimore has dropped below 30 percent, according to data released Thursday by real estate search and number crunching website Zillow.

The share of mortgage holders in negative equity declined to 28.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, a statement from the website said. In the second quarter, 30.8 percent of homeowners with mortgages were underwater, it said. The numbers are in line with the national trend, which declined from 30.9 percent to 28.2 percent from the second to third quarter.

In metro Baltimore, there are about 150,500 homes that are underwater, for a total negative equity amount of $11.2 billion, Zillow said. About half of those homes are underwater by 20 percent or less, according to the site’s data.

“The fall in negative equity rates means homeowners have additional options for refinancing or selling their homes,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist. “The housing market has found real momentum of its own, but is not immune from shocks to the broader economy. If negotiations centered on resolving the fiscal cliff don’t inspire confidence in investors and consumers alike, recent home value gains — and, as a result, falling negative equity rates — could stall.”

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