Tri-Cities equity-rich properties continue increasing


TRI-CITIES, Tenn. – Here’s some positive news to balance some of the gloom and doom housing reports dominating the mass media.

A little more than one-half of all the mortgaged properties in the Tri-Cities region are equity rich. That means the combined estimated loan balances securing those properties was no more than 50% of the properties estimated value. In other words, the owners of those 50,664 properties have a strong wealth position in their property. It’s also a snapshot of the financial strength and health of the local housing market. During the third quarter of 2019 – the last year of a normal Tri-Cities market – there was 19,309 equity-rich properties.

The good news extends to those who are having some financial issues. The number of seriously underwater properties has dropped to 2.5%, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. That’s almost 1,000 fewer underwater properties than this time last year.

Both the surge in equity-rich and shrinking of underwater properties are outlined in ATTOM’s U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report, which shows 48.5% of mortgaged residential properties in the U.S., were equity rich in the third quarter.

“Even though home price appreciation has slowed down in recent months, homeowners have continued to build equity,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. “And it appears that many of those homeowners have decided to stay where they are rather than purchase a new home and are beginning to tap into that equity, as the number of home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) issued in the second quarter of 2022 rose by 43% from the prior year.”

The report also shows that just 2.9% of mortgaged homes, or one in 35, were considered seriously underwater in Q3, with a combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property of at least 25 percent more than the property’s estimated market value.

According to the report, there were 93,311 mortgaged properties in the Tri-Cities region, up from 90,448 last year. That accounts for 35% of all the region’s housing units. Census data show that almost half of all housing had no mortgage.

Hawkins and Unicoi counties have the largest share of equity-rich properties during the third quarter. The share for both was 60.5%. All the other Tennessee counties had equity-rich shares in the 55% to 57% range. The lowest percentage was in Washington Co. Va. (40%) and Bristol Va. (43%).

The total for seriously underwater properties was 2,452. The highest shares were in Bristol, Va. (5.7%) and Washington Co. Va. (4.9%). Greene Co. has the highest share of financially troubled properties in NE Tenn. (3.8%). The other counties ranged from 1.9% to 2.7%.

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Categories: REAL ESTATE