Home prices and housing demand are both soaring, and real estate agents are desperate to find more homes to list. Sounds like a dream for any homeowner who wants to sell. Unfortunately, close to 3 million can't — not unless they want to pay money to do it.
Nearly a decade into the housing recovery, 5.4 percent of all mortgage properties are in a negative-equity position, that is, the owners owe more on the mortgage than the home is currently worth, according to CoreLogic. That is a vast improvement from just a year ago, when 7.1 percent of mortgaged properties were in a negative-equity position.
Since the epic crash in home prices, which bottomed in 2009, homeowners have seen somewhat steady gains in equity, but solid gains since 2013. In the past year, homeowners gained $766 billion collectively in equity, which just magnifies the severity of the crisis.
In the last quarter of 2009, more than one-quarter of all homes with a mortgage were in a negative-equity position, or upside down on their loans. Nationally, homeowners in aggregate still have to make up $284 billion to break even.