WUOMFM

More Michigan homeowners are getting their heads above water

Jan 22, 2015

Fewer and fewer Michigan homeowners are seriously underwater on their mortgages. 

Realty Trac reports 10% of Michigan homeowners owe at least 25% more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.   

The percentage of Michigan homeowners seriously underwater on their mortgages has been declining steadily since the Great Recession. 

Sunnier days for Michigan homeowners
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

According to Realty Trac, in the first quarter of 2012, 56% of Michigan homeowners were seriously underwater. By the end of 2013, that percentage had fallen to 31%.

Michigan’s numbers reflect a national trend of rising home values.

“Median home prices nationwide bottomed out in March 2012 and since then have increased 35%, lifting 5.8 million homeowners out of seriously underwater territory,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

The picture isn't all rosy, though.

Detroit is among the U.S. cities with the highest percentage of homeowners seriously underwater on their mortgages. Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida have the highest percentage of underwater mortgages. 

Also, people who got a mortgage in 2006 or 2007 are among those still most likely to find themselves underwater on their mortgages. 

Underwater mortgages continue to be a drag on many local real estate markets.

On the plus side, the percentage of Michigan homeowners with a more than 50% equity stake in their homes has risen to 18%. That’s up 4 percentage points from a year ago.