Nearly 2 Million Homeowners No Longer ‘Seriously’ Underwater

2M Homeowners no longer seriously underwater
Surging home prices have helped nearly two million homeowners get back above water on their mortgages over the past year. During the first quarter, 9.1 million, or 17%, of homeowners were seriously underwater on their home, meaning their debt exceeded the home’s value by 25% or more, according to RealtyTrac. That’s down from 10.9 million, or 26%, of all properties a year earlier.

States with the highest percentage of seriously underwater homes included Nevada, Florida and Illinois. RealtyTrac also found that fewer properties in foreclosure are underwater. “Because of rising home prices, many of the homeowners in the foreclosure process — more than a third — actually have positive equity. That will enable some of them to avoid foreclosure,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president for RealtyTrac. These homeowners could leverage the home’s value to either refinance or sell their home. “But many distressed homeowners with equity may not realize they have it and in some cases have vacated the property already, assuming that their foreclosure is inevitable.”

Metro areas where more than half of the foreclosures actually have positive equity include Denver, Boston, Minneapolis, Houston and Washington, D.C.

RealtyTrac also reported that the number of “equity-rich” homeowners, those with 50% or more equity in their home, grew to 9.9 million in the first quarter. That represents 19% of all mortgaged homes.


The California Association Of REALTORS (CAR) claims that sellers, on average, received 5.9 offers from buyers in 2013, and 3.1 offers from buyers in 2012. In line with today’s market conditions, home sellers in Orange County should be prepared to receive more than one offer and we can look to this report for insight. According to the infographic from CAR, home sellers responded to more than one offer in the following manner:

77% took the highest offer
47% took the best mortgage-qualified buyer
39% took the offer without contingencies
23% took the all-cash offer
14% took the offer because of the buyer’s ability to close the fastest

The key to getting more than one offer is to understand the liquidity in the market for a home like yours and to price it correctly. If priced right, you will likely generate serious interest from more than one buyer. And the best way to get top dollar for your home is to have people competing for the right to buy it.

Please don’t hesitate to call me if you are considering the sale of your home and would like to discuss its current market value.


My husband Ralph will be joining me at Coldwell Banker Real Estate in May. The final 2013 real estate agency statistics are in! Coldwell Banker was #1 in the Nation and #1 in Southern California! And once Ralph and I team up there, they’ll be on their way to #1 in North Orange County!