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Fewer underwater mortgages in Florida, but challenges remain

As the housing market improves, fewer local homeowners are "underwater" on their home mortgages. homeowners are considered to be underwater or "upside down" when the amount that they owe.

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Five States Account for 31% of Underwater Mortgages. Five states – Nevada, Florida, Illinois, Arizona and Rhode Island – account for nearly a third of all properties with negative equity. As of the end of the fourth quarter, 10.8 percent of homes – or about 5.4 million properties – were underwater.

In 2000, underwater borrowers were a rarity. The share of such borrowers exceeded 2% in just one state-Hawaii. The actual default rate, defined as the incidence of mortgages 60 days past due or in foreclosure, was about 2%. The 2010 underwater mortgage map in Figure 2 looks very different.

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Fewer underwater mortgages could mean highest prices since boom years. Here’s what the Fed found in its "flow of funds" study released last month: Thanks to recovering housing values, total home equity is now at its highest level – about $8.2 trillion – since the bust and gaining rapidly. From January 2012 through December,

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Seriously underwater mortgages have plunged since the second quarter of 2013, when 41.7 percent had severe negative equity. Meanwhile, equity-rich owners – those who have at least 50 percent equity in their homes – increased to 27 percent in the second quarter from 25 percent a year earlier.

Reverse Mortgage Eligibility. To be eligible for a reverse mortgage loan, the FHA requires the youngest borrower on title to be 62 years or older. Borrowers must also meet financial eligibility criteria as established by HUD. If there is an existing mortgage on the home, it must be paid off with the proceeds from the reverse mortgage loan.

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Fewer underwater mortgages in Florida, but challenges remain By Graham Brink Published Dec. 10, 2018 Not so long ago, nearly half of Florida homes with a mortgage were underwater.

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Underwater mortgages can pose problems in several situations. Difficulties in Selling Your Home. An underwater mortgage makes it difficult for homeowners to sell their house. Buyers generally will only pay market value for a home, but if the property is underwater, the sale price won’t be enough to pay off the mortgage debt.