Spread the good news: The nation increased its number of financially secure households by a significant amount in 2015. By the end of the fourth quarter, about 46.3 million – or 91.5 percent – of all properties with a mortgage had equity, according to CoreLogic’s most recent analysis, released this week.
“The number of home owners with more than 20 percent equity is rising rapidly,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Higher prices driven largely by tight supply are certainly a big reason for the rise, but continued population growth, household formation, and ultra-low interest rates are also factors. Looking ahead in 2016, we expect home equity levels to continue to build, which is a good thing for the long-term health of the U.S. economy.”
The majority of residential properties with positive equity tend to be at the higher end of the housing market, according to CoreLogic. Ninety-five percent of homes valued at $200,000 or higher have equity, compared to 87 percent of homes below the $200,000 mark.
Despite recent gains, many home owners are still “under-equitied,” according to CoreLogic’s report. More than 50 million residential properties with a mortgage – or 18.9 percent – have less than 20 percent equity in their properties, and 1.2 million home owners – or 2.3 percent – have less than 5 percent equity.
Some home owners still don’t have any equity. About 4.3 million home owners with a mortgage, around 8.5 percent, owe more on their home than it is currently worth as of the fourth quarter of 2015. That marks a slight increase from 8.3 percent in the prior quarter, but a 19 percent year-over-year decrease from 2014.