As home prices continue to increase, homeowners are getting richer and richer. About 45% of mortgaged residential properties in the U.S. were considered “equity rich” in the first quarter, up from about 32% a year earlier, according to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions. Equity rich means that the combined estimated amount of the loan balance on the home was no more than 50% of the home’s estimated market value.
“Homeowners continue to benefit from rising home prices,” says Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence for ATTOM. “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.”
Equity growth likely will continue for the remainder of the year, but home price increases are predicted to moderate, Sharga says.
The highest levels of equity-rich properties were in the West during the first quarter, with eight of the top 10 states located in that region, ATTOM Data Solutions reports. The list of states with the most equity-rich property was led by Idaho (with 68.8% of mortgaged homes equity-rich), Vermont (68%), Utah (63.6%), Washington (60.9%), and Arizona (60.9%).
The states where the share of equity-rich mortgaged homes increased the most in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2022 were:
- New Mexico: from 35.3% in the fourth quarter to 43.4% in the first quarter
- Florida: from 46.6% to 53.6%
- California: from 53.7% to 60.5%
- South Carolina: from 35% to 41.2%
- Montana: from 40.5% to 45.7%
Source: “Homeowner Equity Grows Again Across U.S. in First Quarter,” ATTOM Data Solutions (May 12, 2022)