The following is by Les Masterson of Patch
The second quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report showed that U.S. homeowners who are underwater (home valued at less than mortgage) are decreasing, but there are still millions with no equity in their homes.
About 12.2 million U.S. homeowners with a mortgage were in negative equity, or underwater, in the second quarter of 2013. That’s an improvement from 13 million in the first quarter and 15.3 million from a year ago. Approximately one-third of American homes are owned without a mortgage, reported Zillow.
About 20 percent of Stoughton homeowners with a mortgage are “underwater” on their home loans. The National rate is 23.8 percent. (As a point of comparison, about 23 percent of Stoughton homes were underwater in the third quarter of 2012.)
20 percent of Avon homes are also underwater, according to Zillow's second quarter Negative Equity Report. In North Easton, 15 percent of homes are underwater, but in South Easton 24 percent of homes have negative equity.
Just 7 percent of Sharon homes and 11 percent of Canton homes are underwater, as opposed to the 31 percent in Randolph and 42 percent in Brockton's 02301 zip code and 43 percent in Brockton's 02302 zip code. The Randolph and Brockton percentages are among the highest in the country.
Like Stoughton, these second quarter numbers are a slight improvement from the third quarter ones in 2012, with the exception of Avon (19 percent in Q3 of 2012) and North Easton (15 percent).
Fifty-seven percent of homeowners across the country in negative equity are underwater by 20 percent or more and about 13 percent owes more than twice what their home is worth, said Zillow.
The Boston metropolitan area has lower underwater rates than the rest of the nation, however. Boston has one of the lowest metro percentages (15 percent), which is much better than the three worst: Las Vegas (48 percent), Atlanta (44 percent) and Orlando (40 percent).
"Widespread rising home values during the past year have helped chip away at negative equity nationwide, helping many homeowners who were only modestly underwater to come up for air. For those homeowners who are deeply underwater, though, there is still a long row to hoe," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.
"The frustratingly slow pace of negative equity declines in the face of such robust home value appreciation is a direct result of the fact that many people in the hardest-hit markets are underwater by an enormous amount. Because of this, negative equity will be a factor in these markets for years to come, constraining the supply of homes for sale and keeping people out of the market who might otherwise get involved,” he said.