Homeowners are striking gold in real estate. The percentage of financed homes that were equity rich in the third quarter grew to nearly 40%, up from 28.3% a year ago, ATTOM Data Solutions reports. A home is considered equity rich when the combined estimated amount of loan balances on the property is no more than 50% of the estimated market value.
“Homeowners across most of the United States could sit back with a smile yet again in the third quarter and watch their balance sheets grow as soaring home prices pushed their equity levels ever higher,” says Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm. “For sure, some uncertainty lies ahead as other key market barometers have been a bit shaky as of late. And the coronavirus pandemic remains a threat. But there is no doubt that homeowners continue benefiting big-time from the relentless home price increases we are seeing around the country.”
Most of the top equity-rich places are clustered in the West and South. The states with the largest upticks in equity from the second quarter to the third quarter were Utah, where the percentage of mortgaged homes considered equity-rich increased from 45.5% to 60.9%; Arizona, up from 39.7% to 53.2%; Idaho, up from 54.2% to 65.1%; North Carolina, up from 28.4% to 38.6%; and Nevada, up from 34.9% to 44.9%.
Broken down by metro area, the places with the highest share of mortgaged properties that were equity rich in the third quarter are:
- Austin, Texas: 66.9% of properties are equity-rich
- Boise, Idaho: 66.7%
- San Jose, Calif.: 65.8%
- Ogden, Utah: 62.8%
- Spokane, Wash.: 62.2%
While equity increases, the number of properties that are underwater—those with combined estimated loan balances of at least 25% more than the property’s estimated market value—continues to shrink. Just 3.4% of mortgaged homes—or about one in 29—were considered seriously underwater in the third quarter of 2021. That is down from 6% a year ago, ATTOM Data Solutions reports.