That was down from 10.7 million residential properties deeply underwater in September 2013, representing 23% of all properties with a mortgage, and down from 10.9 million properties deeply underwater in January 2013, representing 26% of all properties with a mortgage.
The high watermark for being deeply underwater came in May 2012, when 12.8 million U.S. residential properties were deeply underwater, representing 29% of all properties with a mortgage.
“During the housing downturn we saw a downward spiral of falling home prices resulting in rising negative equity, which in turn put millions of homeowners at higher risk for foreclosure when they encountered a trigger event such as job loss,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Now we are seeing the reverse trend: rising home prices resulting in falling negative equity, which in turn is giving millions of homeowners a lifeline to avoid foreclosure when they encounter a trigger event. On the other end of the spectrum, the percentage of equity-rich homeowners is nearing a tipping point that should result in a larger inventory of homes listed for sale and give the overall economy a nice shot in the arm in 2014.”
States with the highest percentage of homes in this fix were Nevada (38 percent), Florida (34 percent), Illinois (32 percent), Michigan (31 percent), Missouri (28 percent) and Ohio (28 percent).
Metropolitan areas with the highest rates were Las Vegas (41 percent), Orlando, Fla., (36 percent), Detroit (35 percent), Tampa, Fla., (35 percent), Miami (33 percent) and Chicago (33 percent).