By Les Masterson
Stoughton has one of the highest percentage of homes with negative equity south of Boston.
In numbers published by The Boston Globe and supplied by real estate website Zillow, 15.5 percent of Stoughton homes have more money owed on the mortgage than what the property is worth.
That figure of homes "underwater" is above the 11.5 percent average across Eastern Massachusetts. Other nearby communities compare with percentages, including Avon (15.1 percent), Holdbrook (18), Brockton (32.6) and Whitman (15.2).
Overall, Forbes reported that nearly 19 percent, or 9.7 million American households, are underwater.
"The unfortunate reality is that housing markets look to be swimming with underwater borrowers for years to come," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "It’s hard to overstate just how much of a drag on the housing market negative equity really is, especially at the lower end of the market, which represents those homes typically most affordable for first-time buyers. Negative equity constrains inventory, which helps drive home values higher, which in turn makes those homes that are available that much less affordable.?