Friday, June 17, 2011

MORTGAGE & FINANCE: 230,000 homeowners underwater, study says

More than 230,000 Massachusetts homeowners with mortgages — 15.4 percent — owe lenders more than their homes are worth, according to a report released yesterday by CoreLogic, a California analysis company.

Tweet 2 people Tweeted thisShareThis On average, those borrowers’ homes are valued at $120,000 less than their mortgage loan balance. Massachusetts ranked second only to New York in upside-down mortgage debt, according to the study, which was based on the first quarter of this year. Nationwide, the average “underwater’’ borrower owed about $65,000 more than their homes were worth.

About 10.9 million US homeowners, or 22.7 percent of mortgage holders, were underwater by the end of the first quarter, down slightly from the last quarter of 2010, when 23.1 percent of borrowers held upside-down loans.

Mark Fleming, chief economist of CoreLogic, said that many borrowers still pay their mortgages despite falling home values, but he added that a financial shock — such as a job loss or health problem — could put such people at higher risk of foreclosure.

“The existence of negative equity for the foreseeable future will weigh on the housing market recovery by holding back sale and refinance activity,’’ Fleming said.

Jenifer B. McKim Boston Globe June 8, 2011

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