1 million borrowers regained equity in 2015

by Ryan Smith11 Mar 2016
One million borrowers regained equity in 2015, according to a new report from CoreLogic.

According to the report, released Thursday, the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity at the end of 2015 was about 46.3 million – 91.5% of all mortgaged properties. Nationally, borrower equity showed a year-over-year increase of $682 billion in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the number of properties with negative equity stood at 4.3 million – or 8.5% of all mortgaged properties – at the end of 2015, according to CoreLogic. That’s a 2.9% increase from Q3 of 2015, but a 19.1% decrease year over year.

CoreLogic found that the national aggregate value of negative equity was $311 billion at the end of 2015, about 1.8% higher than at the end of the third quarter. On an annual basis, the value of negative equity dropped 10.6% from Q4 of 2014.

Of the more than 50 million mortgaged residential properties, the survey found that about 9.5 million, or 18.9%, had less than 20% equity, and 1.2 million, or 2.3%, had less than 5%. Borrowers who are under-equities can face difficulty refinancing of obtaining new financing for another home, and may be at risk of moving into negative equity if home prices slide, according to CoreLogic.

Still, the continued growth of home equity is good news.

“In Q4 of last year home equity increased by $680 billion or 11.5%, the 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The improvement in equity reflects positive home prices and continued deleveraging of mortgage balances by households.” 

“The number of homeowners with more than 20% equity is rising rapidly,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Higher prices driven largely by tight supply are certainly a big reason for the rise, but continued population growth, household formation and ultralow interest rates are also factors. Looking ahead in 2016, we expect home equity levels to continue to build, which is a good thing for the long-term health of the U.S. economy.”


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