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Published: Thursday, 4/17/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Toledo-area underwater homeowners on decline

Data show 8% drop from 6 months ago

BY CHIP TOWNS
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The Toledo metro area ranked 14th in the United States in the percentage of homes that were “seriously underwater” in the first quarter of 2014, according to RealtyTrac, a California real estate data firm.

RealtyTrac says 29 percent of Toledo-area properties with a mortgage were seriously underwater, which it defines as the homeowner owing at least 25 percent more than the estimated market value of the property.

RealtyTrac ranked the 102 metro areas with populations of more than 500,000 people. Las Vegas tops the list with 37 percent of homeowners deeply underwater.

Cleveland (35 percent), Akron (34 percent), and Dayton (31 percent) rank higher on the list than Toledo. Youngstown ranks 21st, Columbus 23rd, and Cincinnati 35th.

At the other end of the spectrum, 14 percent of Toledo-area homeowners were “equity rich,” which means the amount owed on the property was less than half the value of the property.

RealtyTrac says an additional 17 percent of Toledo metro properties had “resurfacing equity,” meaning that the homeowner owed between 10 percent more than the property is worth and 10 percent less than the property is worth.

Homeowners regain equity in a home as they pay down debt and also as home prices rise.

“U.S. homeowners are continuing to recover equity lost during the Great Recession, but the pace of that recovering equity slowed in the first quarter, corresponding to slowing home price appreciation,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Slower price appreciation means the 9 million homeowners seriously underwater could still have a long road back to positive equity.”

Toledo’s numbers are improving. Six months ago, RealtyTrac said 37 percent of homeowners were seriously underwater, 17 percent were resurfacing, and 12 percent were equity rich.

Lucas County drags the rest of the four-county area down. One-third of Lucas County homes were seriously underwater, compared with 20 percent in Ottawa County, 16 percent in Wood County, and 12 percent in Fulton County.

In Michigan, 19 percent of Monroe County homeowners were seriously underwater, compared with 9 percent in Lenawee County and only 4 percent in Hillsdale County.

On the list of states with the highest percentage of homes that were deeply underwater, Michigan and Ohio ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Nevada leads the list, followed by Florida and Illinois.

Contact Chip Towns at:ctowns@theblade.com or 419-724-6194.



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