The 8.3 million include homeowners with a loan to value (LTV) ratio from 90 to 110 percent, meaning they have between 10 percent positive equity and 10 percent negative equity. These homeowners represented 18 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage as of the beginning of September.
The 10.7 million residential properties with an LTV ratio of at least 125 percent represented 23 percent of U.S. residential properties with a mortgage - down from 11.3 million deeply underwater properties representing 26 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage in May 2013 and down from 12.5 million deeply underwater properties representing 28 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage in September 2012.
"Steadily rising home prices are lifting all boats in this housing market and should spill over into more inventory of homes for sale in the coming months," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
Homeowners who already have ample equity are quickly building on that equity, while the 8.3 million homeowners on the fence with little or no equity are on track to regain enough equity to sell before 2015 if home prices continue to increase at the rate of 1.33 percent per month that they have since bottoming out in March 2012.
In addition, nearly one in four homeowners in foreclosure has at least some equity, giving them a better chance to avoid foreclosure without resorting to a short sale - assuming they realize they have equity and don't miss the opportunity to leverage that equity. Even homeowners deeply underwater have reason for hope, with about 150,000 each month rising past the 25 percent negative equity milestone - although it will certainly take years rather than months before most of those homeowners have enough equity to sell other than via short sale.
Other high-level findings from the report:
- More than 126,000 properties in the foreclosure process nationwide had an LTV of 100 percent or lower in September, representing 24 percent of all homes in the foreclosure process. States with the highest percentage of foreclosures with equity included Oklahoma (54 percent), Hawaii (51 percent), New York (47 percent), and Texas (46 percent).
- States with the highest percentage of deeply underwater homes (LTV of 125 percent or higher) included Nevada (46 percent), Illinois (40 percent), Florida (40 percent), Michigan (38 percent), Rhode Island (34 percent), and Ohio (31 percent).
- Metro markets with the highest percentage of homes with resurfacing equity (LTV from 90 to 110 percent) included Omaha, Neb., (29 percent), Colorado Springs, Colo., (29 percent), Tulsa, Okla., (29 percent), Little Rock, Ark., (28 percent), and Raleigh, N.C. (28 percent).
- Nationwide 7.4 million homeowners with a mortgage had 50 percent equity or more, representing 16 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage. Metro markets with the highest percentage of homeowners with at least 50 percent equity included Honolulu (36 percent), San Jose, Calif., (35 percent), Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (30 percent), Pittsburgh (29 percent), San Francisco (29 percent), and New York (27 percent).
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