Number of underwater borrowers falling

by Ryan Smith04 May 2015
The percentage of underwater borrowers has dropped dramatically since last year, according to a new report.

Black Knight Financial stated in its recent Mortgage Monitor report that though negative equity distribution varies widely by geographical area, there’s an overall downward trend.

“Our most recent data shows that just over 8% of borrowers are currently underwater on their mortgages, representing a nearly 30% reduction in the negative equity rate since last year,” said Ben Graboske, senior vice president of data and analytics at Black Knight.

According to the report, just over 4 million borrowers were underwater as of January, the most recent time for which numbers were available. Last year, that number stood at 5.7 million, or about 11.4% of the mortgage-holding population.

Of borrowers currently underwater, about 29% are seriously delinquent, according to Black Knight. Underwater borrowers make up about 77% of all active foreclosures.

“In fact, one of every three borrowers in active foreclosure has a current loan-to-value ratio of 150 or more, meaning they owe 50% more than their homes are worth,” Graboske said.

But foreclosures and delinquencies are also down, according to the report. Black Knight found that just 4.7% of mortgages were delinquent in March, down from 5.36% in February. Just 1.55% of mortgages were in foreclosure, from 2.13% the year before.