Millions of U.S. Homeowners Still Under Water on Mortgages

(Bloomberg)—A staggering number of American homeowners remain under water on their mortgages a decade after the housing bubble burst.

Almost 4.5 million households — or 9.1 percent — owed more than their homes are worth in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to data firm Zillow, with an estimated 713,000 owing at least twice as much as their property’s value.

While the percentage is declining, families in communities with stagnant property values are “trapped in their homes with no easy options to regain equity other than waiting,” said Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist at Zillow.

That in turn could weigh on local economic growth.

Virginia Beach, Virginia; Baltimore and Chicago are the hardest hit metropolitan areas, based on effective negative interest rates.

Effective negative equity measures the lack of sufficient home equity to pay for the associated costs of selling homes and buying new properties.

This article provided by NewsEdge.