The Atlantic staffer Alana Semuels takes a deep dive into a new report that finds there are more than seven million homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.
What's worse, in many of the country's hardest hit areas, the amount of underwater homes is either holding steady, or going up:
In some 1,000 counties, the number of underwater homes is stagnant or increasing, threatening already struggling regions with the potential of more foreclosures, more empty and abandoned homes, and more people who opt to rent instead of buy, which drives up the price of apartments, according to the study from the Center for American Progress.
“It’s easy to say housing crisis is over but, for many parts of the country, it’s certainly not. The recession isn’t either,” said Sarah Edelman, one of the authors of the report.
The study finds that the percentage of underwater homeowners is currently at 15%. That’s about half of what it was in 2011, but still much higher than the rates of the late 1990s, when only 4% to 5% of homeowners were underwater nationally.