The number of homes with negative equity, also known as underwater homes, went up for the 2011 fourth quarter to 11.1 million, or 22.8 percent, CoreLogic revealed in a release today.
Third quarter numbers showed 10.7 million properties were in negative equity, or 22.1 percent.
Borrowers with less than 5 percent equity in their homes, also known as near-negative equity, stood at 2.5 million for the fourth quarter. In total, those with negative equity and near-negative equity equaled 27.8 percent of all residential properties.
This figure was also up from the third quarter, when negative and near-negative equity had a combined totaled of 27.1 percent.
Nationally, the total mortgage debt outstanding on underwater properties stood at $2.8 trillion in the fourth quarter, compared to $2.7 trillion in the previous quarter.
“Due to the seasonal declines in home prices and slowing foreclosure pipeline which is depressing home prices, the negative equity share rose in late 2011,” said Mark Fleming,
chief economist with CoreLogic. “The negative equity share is back to the same level as Q3 2009, which is when we began reporting negative equity using this methodology.”
Fleming further explained that the high level of negative equity coupled with the inability to pay is the “double trigger” of default, but with the economic recovery, there should be a reduction in the “inability to pay trigger.”
The states with the highest level of negative equity were Nevada (61 percent), Arizona (48 percent), Florida (44 percent), Michigan (35 percent) and Georgia (33 percent). These five states had a combined average 44.3 percent of the share of negative equity, whereas the remaining states have a combined average negative equity share of 15.3 percent.
Out of the 11.1 million borrowers with underwater mortgages, 6.7 million had first liens with negative equity, and the remaining 4.4 million had first and second liens.
The average mortgage balance for the first lien borrowers was $219,000, with an underwater average of $51,000, and a loan-to-value ratio of 130 percent. Those who were upside down with first and second liens had an average mortgage balance of $306,000, were upside down by about $84,000, and had an LTV of 138 percent.
Nearly 18 million borrowers had an LTV between 80 percent and 125, making them eligible for HARP 1.0. With the implementation of HARP 2.0 in December 2011, the 125 percent cap was removed, widening eligibility for refinancing under the government program to 22 million borrowers based on LTV alone.
CoreLogic included 48 million properties with a mortgage, which accounts for over 85 percent of all mortgages in the U.S., when putting together the report.
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