At the end of the 4th quarter in 2012, an estimated 200,000 residential properties returned to positive equity, making the total “number of mortgaged residential properties with equity” 38.1 million based on CoreLogic’s Q4 2012 Negative Equity Report. While 10.4 million residential properties with mortgages across the country are still underwater, CoreLogic’s chief economist, Mark Fleming, expressed optimism by saying, “The scourge of negative equity continues to recede across the country. There is certainly more to do but with fewer borrowers underwater, the fundamentals underpinning the housing market will continue to strengthen. The trend toward more homeowners moving back into positive equity territory should continue in 2013.”
Idaho, Montana, and Washington each saw decreases in the percentage of properties with outstanding mortgages that were in a negative equity position. Idaho’s percentage of properties in negative equity was at 22.3% in the 3rd quarter, but at 21.0% in the 4th quarter. Montana’s decrease in the percentage of properties with negative equity was less than a percent with the 3rd quarter at 7.4% and the 4th quarter at 7.2%. The state of Washington’s negative equity share in the 4th quarter decreased to 17.8% from 18.6% in the 3rd quarter. Finally, Wyoming’s 3rd quarter negative equity statistics were not available, however the 4th quarter report showed the state’s negative equity share at 9.6%.