10,000 Charleston County homeowners ‘deeply underwater’ on mortgages

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 9, 2014

More than 90,000 homeowners in the state were “deeply underwater” on their mortgages in December, according to data provided by RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.

93,791 S.C. homeowners, including 10,767 in Charleston County, owed at least 25% more than the estimated market value of their property. That accounted for 14% of homes with a mortgage in the state and 14% in the county, RealtyTrac said in its U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report for December.

Slightly more than 100,000 home loans were considered equity rich in the state, meaning they maintained at least 50% equity. Equity-rich homes made up 16% of the home loans in the state during December, the report said.

Foreclosures deeply underwater — those properties actively in the foreclosure process that are worth at least 25% less than the combined loans secured by the property — accounted for 24% of S.C. foreclosure properties and 48% of U.S. properties in foreclosure.

About 9.3 million U.S. residential properties were deeply underwater, which represented 19% of all properties with a mortgage in December, the report said.

“During the housing downturn, we saw a downward spiral of falling home prices resulting in rising negative equity, which in turn put millions of homeowners at higher risk for foreclosure, when they encountered a trigger event such as job loss,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a statement. “Now we are seeing the reverse trend: rising home prices resulting in falling negative equity, which in turn is giving millions of homeowners a lifeline to avoid foreclosure when they encounter a trigger event.”

Blomquist said the percentage of equity-rich homeowners is nearing a tipping point.

“That should result in a larger inventory of homes listed for sale and give the overall economy a nice shot in the arm in 2014,” he said.

Deeply underwater December numbers for select S.C. counties




County
Richland
Dorchester
Orangeburg
Charleston
Berkeley
Anderson
Lexington
Spartanburg
Greenville



Housing units
159,980
54,162
42,364
168,768
72,028
84,370
112,422
122,029
193,513

Total mortgages deeply underwater
12,860
4,629
967
10,767
3,735
2,688
5,577
3,855
9,795


% of homeowners deeply underwater
19%
15%
18%
14%
15%
12%
12%
10%
10%



Total foreclosures deeply underwater
345
179
20
235
133
61
104
65
130



% of foreclosures deeply underwater
30%
29%
29%
24%
24%
24%
16%
12%
11%

Source: RealtyTrac

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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