Many borrowers still owe too much on their home

Home owners in negative equity still at high levels

Many borrowers are catching up on their home equity, and are no longer underwater due, in part, to rising home prices, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor Report from Black Knight Financial Services. The problem, however, is that there are still many that remain underwater on their homes.

Black Knight is a provider of integrated technology, data and analytics solutions that facilitate and automate many of the business processes across the mortgage lifecycle. This month, the Mortgage Monitor leveraged data from the Black Knight Home Price Index to revisit the U.S. equity landscape in light of 48 consecutive months of annual home price appreciation.

About 425,000 borrowers regained equity in the first quarter, bringing the rate down to 5.6%. At the end of 2012, borrowers who were underwater made up 29% of the market.

"As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the pre-crisis peak in U.S. housing prices, we're just under 3% off that June 2006 peak nationally, and 23 states have already passed their 2006 peaks," said Ben Graboske, Black Knight Data & Analytics executive vice president. "The result is that equity levels are rising nationwide for the most part.”

The good news is, the number of homeowners in negative equity will likely continue to decrease. Home prices in May increased both monthly and annually, according to the Home Price Index and HPI Forecast released by CoreLogic.

On the other hand, about 2.8 million borrowers are still in negative equity, the report showed.  While this is down 13% from last year, it is five times greater than it was in 2004.

About 38 million borrowers now have at least 20% equity in their homes, an average of $116,000 per borrower, according to the report. Tappable equity grew in the first quarter by 6% to $260 billion.

“It seems borrowers are still being prudent when it comes to drawing upon that equity, though,” Graboske said. “Just $20 billion in equity was tapped via cash-out refinances in Q1 2016, roughly 0.5% of total available equity. Even so, cash-outs still accounted for some 42% of all refinance activity in Q1 2016."

On a separate note, men may be faring better than women as Homes owned by single men have a 10% greater value, and appreciate 16% more than homes owned by single women, according to an analysis released today by RealtyTrac, a source for comprehensive housing data.

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