image via Flickr Creative Commons
image via Flickr Creative Commons

About 4.3 million of 46.3 million, or 10.7% of, mortgaged residential properties in the U.S. are underwater--meaning they have a mortgage amount greater than the property value--at the end of the third quarter of 2015. This is an alarming sign for the housing market. 24/7 Wall St staffer Paul Ausick drills down into the data and unveils five metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the most underwater mortgages. Ausick writes,

Some 18.9% (approximately 9.5 million) of all mortgaged properties have positive equity of less than 20%, and 2.3% had less than 5% positive equity at the end of the fourth quarter. The percentage of homes with less than 20% positive equity is slightly higher than at the end of the third quarter of 2015 when 17.6% of all properties had positive equity below 20%. Homes with less than 5% equity are also higher, 2.3% at the end of the fourth quarter compared with 2.3% in the prior quarter.

The aggregate value of negative equity fell by $37.4 billion year over year in the fourth quarter to a nationwide total of $311 billion. At the end of the third quarter, the aggregate value of underwater property totaled $301 billion.

The five metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of properties with negative equity are:

  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. (22.0%)
  • Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (21.3%),
  • Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (16.7%)
  • Washington, DC-Arlington-Alexandria, Va. (11.0%)
  • Boston, Mass. (6.3%)

The five metro areas with the highest percentage in positive equity are:

  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif. (99.3%)
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (98.1%)
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (98.0%)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (95.5%)
  • New York City, Jersey City, White Plains, N.Y.-N.J. (93.8%)
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