Record equity levels lessen odds of local home market crash

Tri-Cities area homeowners continue benefiting from rising home prices. Attom Data Solutions’ current Home Equity & Underwater Report shows the share of equity rich mortgaged properties almost doubled from last year. And the number of homeowners who owed more than their property’s estimated value posted big declines.

“Record levels of home equity provide financial security for millions of families and minimize the chance of another housing market crash like the one we saw in 2008. But these higher home prices and rising interest rates make it extremely challenging for first-time buyers to enter the market,” according to Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at Attom.

Add buyers seeking affordable housing to the list of those feeling the pinch of rising prices. Although the local home sales rate is ebbing, prices are still increasing. According to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors’ (NETAR) Home Sales Report, the April median existing-home sales price was $220,000, up 13.7% from last year. The four-month median price trend is up 15.6% from last year.

Attom’s analysis shows owners of 2,165 (3%) of the region’s mortgaged properties owned 25% or more than the estimated value of their homes. Tri-Cities area underwater properties peaked in 2018 and have declined every year. The first quarter peak is down 81% percent from the 2018 annual peak. The current US underwater rate is 3.2%, and 2.9% in Tennessee.

According to the analysis, there were 32,653 (44.8%) equity rich local mortgaged properties during the first quarter. And equity for 12 of the local zip codes increased from their Q4 levels. Equity rich means the homeowner had 50% of more equity. A couple of years ago, 30% equity levels in some local markets – like Sullivan Co. – were very higher than the US norm. The first quarter US equity rich rate is 44.9% and 51.2% in Tennessee.

Eleven of the 17 local zip codes in the analysis had equity rich status greater than the national average. Blountville and Kingsport’s 37663 zip code were the only locals with an equity share higher than the Tennessee average – the 11th highest in the nation.

The analysis included 72,862 local mortgaged properties. That accounts for 37% of the total households in those 17 Tri-Cities area households.






Categories: REAL ESTATE