SEATTLE (6/15/15)--The share of homeowners with negative equity in their homes, meaning the homeowner owes more than the home is worth, fell to 15.4% in the first quarter from 16.9%, according to Zillow.
That total of "underwater" mortgage borrowers is less than half of what it was at its post-recession peak in 2012.
Problems remain, however, as more than half of those with negative equity owe at least 20% more than the full value of their home. Further, those who own low-end homes are more than three times as likely to be underwater than those owning high-end homes.
Even more discouraging, Zillow estimates that home values will climb a mere 2% by April 2016, well below recent annual growth rates above 8%.
“For the more than 4 million homeowners underwater by more than 20%, simply waiting for home values to rise enough to lift them into positive equity will require tremendous patience,” said Svenja Gudell, senior director of economic research at Zillow. “It will likely take through the end of this decade, at least, for them to get back to even.”
Additional numbers from Zillow: