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Negative Equity Drops in Q2, 1.7M Still 'Near-Negative'

The number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity fell more than five percentage points throughout the year’s second quarter, CoreLogic reported Tuesday.

According to the company’s analysis, approximately 2.5 million residential properties returned to a state of positive equity last quarter, bringing the total number to 41.5 million. Meanwhile, 7.1 million homes—or 14.5 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage—were still in negative equity, down from 9.6 million (19.7 percent) at the end of Q1 2013.

The bulk of home equity during the quarter was concentrated at the high end of the market, with 91 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 having equity (compared to 80 percent of homes with values lower than that).

The national aggregate value of negative equity was $428 billion at the end of Q2 compared to $576 billion the prior quarter, a decrease driven in large part by improving home prices, CoreLogic said.

“Price appreciation obviously had a positive impact on home equity over the first half of 2013, especially the second quarter,” said president and CEO Anand Nallathambi. “Despite the substantial decrease in negative equity, there’s more ground left to gain with the 7.1 million U.S. residences that remain underwater.”

In actuality, there’s far more ground than that to cover. Of the 41.5 million residential properties with positive equity, an estimated 10.3 million are “under-equitied,” meaning they have less than 20 percent equity. Because of that, those borrowers may have a more difficult time obtaining new financing for their home due to underwriting constraints and may struggle paying the costs to get a new home.

Meanwhile, 1.7 million properties had less than 5 percent equity, qualifying them as “near-negative equity.” According to CoreLogic, under-equitied mortgages accounted for 21.1 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide last quarter.

Nevada had the highest percentage of negative equity mortgages in Q2 36.4 percent. It was followed by Florida (31.5 percent), Arizona (24.7 percent), Michigan (22.5 percent), and Georgia, (20.7 percent). Together, those five states account for 34.9 percent of negative equity in the country.

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