Home Equity Gains Topped $1 Trillion in the First Quarter of 2018

  • In the First Quarter of 2018, 84,000 Residential Properties Regained Equity
  • About 2.5 Million Mortgaged Residential Properties Are Still in Negative Equity
  • An Additional 500,000 Properties Would Return to an Equity Position if Home Prices Gained Another 5 Percent
  • Over the Past Four Quarters, the Average Homeowner Gained $16,300 in Home Equity

CoreLogic®released the Home Equity Report for the first quarter of 2018, which shows that U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 63 percent of all properties) have seen their equity increased 13.3 percent year over year, representing a gain of $1.01 trillion since the first quarter of 2017.

Additionally, the average homeowner gained $16,300 in home equity between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. While home equity grew nationwide, western states experienced the largest increase. Washington homeowners gained an average of approximately $44,000 in home equity, and California homeowners gained an average of approximately $51,000 in home equity (Figure 1).

“Home equity balances continue to grow across the nation,” said Frank Martell, president, and CEO of CoreLogic. “In the far Western states, equity gains are fueled by a long run in home price escalation. With strong economic growth and higher purchase demand, we expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future.”

From the fourth quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018, the total number of mortgaged homes in negative equity decreased 3 percent to just under 2.5 million homes or 4.7 percent of all mortgaged properties. Negative equity decreased 21 percent year over year from 3.1 million homes – or 6.1 percent of all mortgaged properties – in the first quarter of 2017.

“Home-price growth has accelerated in recent months, helping to build home-equity wealth and lift underwater homeowners back into positive equity the primary driver of home equity wealth creation,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The CoreLogic Home Price Index grew 6.7 percent during the year ending March 2018, the largest 12-month increase in four years. Likewise, the average growth in home equity was more than $15,000 during 2017, the most in four years. Washington led all states with 12.8 percent appreciation, and its homeowners also had much larger home-equity gains than the national average.”

Negative equity, often referred to as being underwater or upside down, applies to borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in a home’s value, an increase in mortgage debt or both. Negative equity peaked at 26 percent of mortgaged residential properties in the fourth quarter of 2009, based on the CoreLogic equity data analysis which began in the third quarter of 2009.

The national aggregate value of negative equity was approximately $284.8 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2018. This is up quarter over quarter by approximately $100 million, from $284.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

For ongoing housing trends and data, visit the CoreLogic Insights Blog: https://www.corelogic.com/insights-index.aspx.

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