MReport December 2020

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M R EP O RT | 45 SERVICING THE LATEST O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T Home Equity Continues Rising Even in an uncertain economy, equity- rich properties are increasing. O f the 58.9 million mortgaged homes in the United States, 16.7 million considered equity-rich, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those proper- ties was less than 50% of their estimated market value, according to ATTOM Data Solutions' third- quarter 2020 U.S. Home Equity &Underwater Report. Nationwide, equity-rich properties that quarter num - bered about one in four, or 28.3%, a 27.5% increase from Q2 and a 26.7% increase since Q 3 of 2019. That is "despite the economic damage caused this year by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic," the report's authors noted. Furthermore, just 3.5 million, or one in 17, mortgaged homes are "seriously un - derwater" (at least 25% more than the property's estimated market value). That number represents 6% of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, down from 6.2% in the prior quarter. As the pandemic has caused other sectors to suffer, the hous - ing market has remained strong; home values have kept rising throughout 2020, commonly by double-digit annual percentages. "Homeowner equity in the third quarter added another pebble to the pile of markers showing that the U.S. hous - ing market continues to defy the broad downturn in the economy this year. Home prices keep rising, boosting the balance sheets of homeowners through - out most of the country," said Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. "With the foundation under the housing market still shaky as the coronavirus remains a threat, we will con - tinue to moni- tor closely the various metrics, including equity. But as it's been throughout the pandemic, the market is strong, and homeowners remain in a posi - tion to benefit." Here's a glimpse of what's happening re - gionally: » New England showed the most significant improvement in its number of equity-rich homes. » The largest declines in under - water properties happened across the Midwest and South. » Northeast and West continue to have the largest shares of equity-rich homes; the Midwest and South have the lowest. » The highest rate of seriously underwater mortgages remains in the South and Midwest. » At least 25% of all properties were seriously underwater in 115 ZIP codes. As the pandemic has caused other sectors to suffer, the housing market has remained strong.

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