Home equity rises again — except in these two states

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Edging up the equity

House price growth may be slowing down, but American homeowners still have something to celebrate. According to new data, they’ve gained more than $485 million in home equity in just the past year.

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Equity up, underwater mortgages down

According to the latest Home Equity Report from property data firm CoreLogic, the average homeowner has gained about $6,400 in equity over the last year — a 5.6% increase.

As Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic explains, “The country continues to experience record economic expansion as illustrated by these increases in home equity. We expect home equity to continue increasing nationally in 2019, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years.”

The number of homeowners with negative equity — those who are behind on their mortgages — has decreased over the last year, dropping 1 percent since Q1 2018. Just 2.2 million homeowners were underwater as of the first quarter of the year. According to Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, many of those homeowners will rebound by the end of the year.

“Our forecast for the CoreLogic Home Price Index predicts there will be a 4.5 percent increase in our national index from December 2018 to the end of 2019,” Nothaft said. If all homes experience this gain, this would lift about 350,000 homeowners from being underwater and restore positive equity.”

Home equity can make you rich; here’s how

Lucky in Las Vegas

Homeowners in Nevada saw their home equity grow the most. There, average equity has jumped by $21,000 since Q1 2018. In Idaho, equity grew by $20,700 over the same period, while in Wyoming, homeowners gained $20,300.

Other states with serious equity growth were Utah ($19,000), New York ($17,000), Colorado ($14,000), New Hampshire ($11,000), Florida ($10,000) and Indiana ($10,000).

Cash-out refinance vs. home equity loan

The only states to actually lose equity over the past year were North Dakota, where homeowners saw equity decrease by $16,000, and Connecticut, where home equity dipped by $1,000.

At the metro level, equity increased the most in Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas.

Get today’s mortgage rates

Are you looking to tap that rising home equity by refinancing? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Nov 15th, 2019)