Nevada leads the nation with the highest percentage of negative equity properties according to the First American Core Logic 4th Quarter 2009 Negative Equity Data Report released 2-23-10. More than 70% of mortgaged properties in Nevada are in a negative or near-negative equity position.
Negative Equity ("underwater or upside down") refers to the fact that the borrower owes more on their mortgage than the current value of the property. Negative equity occurs due to a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both.
From the report:
The rise in negative equity is closely tied to increases in pre‐foreclosure activity and is a major factor in changing homeowners’ default behavior. Once negative equity exceeds 25 percent, or the mortgage balance is $70,000 higher than the current property values, owners begin to default with the same propensity as investors.
More than 11.3 million, or 24 percent, of all residential properties with mortgages, were in negative equity at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009, up from 10.7 million and 23 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2009. An additional 2.3 million mortgages were approaching negative equity at the end of last year, meaning they had less than five percent equity. Together, negative equity and near‐negative equity mortgages accounted for nearly 29 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide.
The following chart shows the five hardest hit states (Nevada, Arizona, Florida, California, and Michigan). The average "underwater" mortgage in Nevada is over 50% negative equity.
Here is a real-world example illustrates the severity in Las Vegas, Clark County. Borrower / homeowner owes a total of $325,000 on a first and second lien and property is currently valued at $160,000.
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