Wednesday, March 4, 2009

20% of Homes Are Underwater

From the WSJ:

Twenty percent of all U.S. residential properties that had a mortgage on them were underwater at the end of December, with mortgage debt greater than what the homes were worth, according to a report released Wednesday by First American CoreLogic.

That's more than 8.3 million mortgages that were upside down at the end of the year, compared with 7.6 million three months earlier. It's a problem that is expected to get worse as home prices continue to fall.

"The accelerating share of negative equity, combined with deteriorating economic conditions, means that mortgage risk will continue to increase until home prices and the economy begin to stabilize," said Mark Fleming, chief economist of First American CoreLogic, in a news release. First American CoreLogic is a Santa Ana, Calif.-based provider of real estate data and mortgage analytics.

"The worrisome issue is not just the severity of negative equity in the 'sand' states, but the geographic broadening of negative equity that is expected to occur throughout the year," he added. "Sand" states include California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida.

Repeat after me: we're nowhere near a bottom in housing