More than 10 million homeowners are still deeply underwater on their mortgages, according to a leading housing analytics firm.
In a report released Thursday, RealtyTrac said that 10.7 million U.S. homeowners owe at least 25% or more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, and another 8.3 million are either slightly underwater or just barely above it.
Those numbers are improving, however. Deeply underwater homeowners – with a loan-to-value ratio on their properties of at least 125% -- represented 23% of U.S. residential properties with a mortgage in September, according to RealtyTrac. That number is down from 11.3 million deeply underwater homeowners – about 26% of all residential properties – in May. A year ago, there were 12.5 million deeply underwater properties.
“Steadily rising home prices are lifting all boats in this housing market and should spill over into more inventory of homes for sale in the coming months,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Homeowners who already have ample equity are quickly building on that equity, while the 8.3 million homeowners on the fence with little or no equity are on track to regain enough equity to sell before 2015 if home prices continue to increase at the rate of 1.33 percent per month that they have since bottoming out in March 2012.”