Some good news from the housing market: The number of seriously underwater properties dropped significantly last year, with 1 million fewer reported at the end of 2016 than 2015. This is the lowest point for seriously underwater properties since the beginning of 2012.
"Seriously underwater" means the combined loan amount on the
property was at least 25 percent higher than the home’s market value. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, 5.4 million U.S. homes were deemed seriously underwater at the close of 2016, accounting for 9.6 percent of all mortgaged properties in the nation. Such homes were down from 10.8 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2016.
On the other end of the spectrum, properties that are equity-rich—meaning the loan amount was 50 percent or less than the home’s market value—have risen. At the end of 2016, there were 13.9 million equity-rich properties, accounting for 24.6 of all properties. This marks a jump from 22.5 percent in 2015.