Tri-Cities homeowners – investors – rock the equity rich list

There are more than 3,000 Tri-Cities area homeowners – that includes investors –  feeling richer than they did this time last year.

Their economic lot in life is rosier because at the end of Q2 they moved into equity rich status. That means they have a mortgage to loan value on their homes of 50% or less. The total number of locals who are equity rich is 28,855 compared to 25,187 last year.

According to Attom Data Solutions Q2 Home Equity & Underwater Report, the national ranks of equity rich owners grew o.3% from Q2 last year. That put 24.6% of all mortgaged properties in the equity rich class. That’s an impressive number, but it’s a piker when you look at how local homeowners and investors fared.

All 10 of the local counties monitored by the report had a larger year-over-year increase than the national average and only three have a share of equity rich properties less than the national 24.6% share.

While one-in-four homeowners nationwide have an equity rich mortgage status one-in-three homeowners in two local counties can say the same thing.

“An increasing number of U.S. homeowners are amassing impressive stockpiles of home equity wealth, enjoying the benefits of rapidly rising home prices while staying conservative when it comes to cashing out on their equity—homeowners are staying in their homes nearly twice as long before selling as they were prior to the Great Recession, and the volume of home equity lines of credit are running about one-third of the level they were at during the last housing boom,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “However, this home equity wealth is unevenly distributed across different geographies, value ranges, occupancy statuses and lengths of ownership, with a disproportionately high equity rich share among high-end properties, investor-owned properties, and properties owned for more than 20 years.”

The report doesn’t drill the local data down to the length of ownership, the number of high-end or investor owned properties, but it’s a pretty safe to say those conditions are factors in the local equity rich makeup.

But the equity share does say something about the nature of the local housing market. Look at it this way. Close to half of all of the owner-occupied homes in our area are mortgage free. The actual share varies from county to county, but the number is higher than the national averages.

So, if almost half of the homes have no mortgage and the share with equity rich mortgages is almost 30%, you’re looking at a lot of housing market wealth.

And, the local equity-rich shares are not something that has happened over night. They haven’t changed all that much in five years. But remember the share is a fluid number. Some owners cash in on their equity to trade up to a bigger home or to slim down for retirement. Others tap it for a major remodel, or to help finance a child’s college education.

For a long time, Sullivan County dominated the top of the equity rich properties. But Johnson County took over that spot this year.

Here’s how the share of equity rich properties looked compared to Q2 last year and the gain:

Carter – 26.7%, up 2%.

Greene – 28.6%, up 3.5%.

Hawkins – 27.6%, up 2.1%

Johnson – 24.5%, up 4.9%

Sullivan – 33.7%, up 3%.

Unicoi – 27.2%, 2.8%.

Washington, TN – 23.6%, up 1%.

Bristol, VA – 20.3%, up 3.1%.

Washington, VA – 19.9%,

U.S. – 24.6%, up 0.3%, up 0.9%.

Some of the characteristics of the 14 million equity rich U.S. properties at the end of Q2 were:

– 44% had and estimated market value of over $750,000 compared to 29.6% of properties valued between $300,000 and $750,000; 21% of properties valued between $100,000 and $300,000.

– 45.7% of the equity rich properties were owned more than 20 years while only 10% were owned less than a year.

– 27.1% of non-owner occupied (investment) properties with a mortgage were equity rich compared to 23.8% of the owner-occupied properties.

The ATTOM Data Solutions U.S. Home Equity & Underwater report is a count of residential properties based on several categories of equity — or loan to value (LTV) — at the state, metro, county and zip code level, along with the percentage of total residential properties with a mortgage that each equity category represents. The equity/LTV calculation is derived from a combination of record-level open loan data and record-level estimated property value data.


Categories: CORE DATA, Home, REAL ESTATE