Report: Fewer homeowners are underwater in Charlotte than national average

A home for sale on Clayton Drive in Charlotte in September.
A home for sale on Clayton Drive in Charlotte in September.

The number of people who owe more on their mortgages than their home is worth has improved greatly since the housing crisis but remains elevated nationwide. In Charlotte, the picture is a little brighter.

Nationwide, the negative equity rate was 15.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to a report released Friday from real estate data firm Zillow. In Charlotte, the rate was a slightly lower 13.8 percent.

Those figures translate to 7.9 million underwater homeowners nationwide, and 49,240 in the Charlotte area, according to Zillow. At the peak of the housing crisis, more than 15 million owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth.

Home value appreciation will help homeowners regain value on their homes, Zillow notes. In Charlotte, home values are rising more quickly than many real estate agents expected since the supply of homes on the market is so low in many areas.

The rate of negative equity improved during the first quarter in all of the 35 largest housing markets that Zillow analyzed. But among those, Las Vegas, Chicago and Atlanta had the highest rates of homeowners in negative equity.

“It’s great news that the level of negative equity is falling, but what really worries me is the depth of negative equity. Millions of Americans are so far underwater, it’s likely they may not re-gain equity for up to a decade or more at these rates,” Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries said in a statement.

In Charlotte, 52.2 percent of underwater homeowners owed 100 to 120 percent of their home’s value, compared with 48.1 percent nationwide. And 47.8 percent of Charlotte’s underwater homeowners owed more than 120 percent of their home value, compared with 51.9 percent nationally.

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Twitter: @katieperalta