Written by The Business Journal Staff
Central Valley homeowners continued to come up for air from their underwater mortgages in 2016, according to the latest data from real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.
In Fresno, 16,867 residential properties — or 11.1 percent of all houses with a mortgage — had negative equity as of the fourth quarter of 2016. That’s compared to 12.1 percent in the third quarter of last year and 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Negative equity, often referred to as being “underwater” or “upside down,” applies to borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt or both.
An additional 3,399 Fresno properties, or 2.2 percent, were in near-negative equity (less than 5 percent equity) in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with 2.9 percent the year prior and 2.4 percent the prior quarter.
In the Visalia-Porterville region, 5,380 properties — or 7.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage — were in negative equity in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 12.2 percent the year prior and 8.4 percent the prior quarter.
An additional 1,496 properties, or 2.1 percent, were in near-negative equity in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with 2.7 percent a year ago and 2.3 percent in the quarter prior.
CoreLogic reported that roughly 63 percent of all U.S. homeowners saw their equity increase by a total of $783 billion in 2016, an increase of 11.7 percent. Additionally, just over 1 million borrowers moved out of negative equity during 2016, increasing the percentage of homeowners with positive equity to 93.8 percent of all mortgaged properties, or approximately 48 million homes.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, the total number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity stood at 3.17 million, or 6.2 percent of all homes with a mortgage. This is a decrease from 6.3 percent of all mortgaged properties quarter over quarter and a decrease from 8.4 percent of all mortgaged properties from the year prior.