About 11.1 million, or 22.8 percent, of all U.S. residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, according to statistics released today by analytics firm CoreLogic, an increase from 10.7 million properties, or 22.1 percent of mortgaged U.S. homes in the third quarter of 2011.
Combined, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for more than a quarter of residential properties with a mortgage nationwide in the fourth quarter. The total mortgage debt outstanding on U.S. properties in negative equity increased from $2.7 trillion in the third quarter of 2011 to $2.8 trillion in the fourth quarter.
“Due to the seasonal declines in home prices and slowing foreclosure pipeline which is depressing home prices, the negative equity share rose in late 2011,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic. “The high level of negative equity and the inability to pay is the ‘double trigger’ of default, is the reason we have such a significant foreclosure pipeline.”
Florida has one of the highest negative equity percentages nationwide, with 44 percent of its mortgaged properties reported as being underwater. — Katherine Clarke