Maine’s largest city leads the Northeast in home equity

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Mainers are accumulating equity in their homes, with the state’s largest city leading the Northeast in share of equity-rich properties and the state seeing fewer homes seriously underwater, according to a new investigation.

According to ATTOM, a real estate data company, some 52.1% of homes in metropolitan Portland were stock-rich in the first quarter of this year. This means that the combined loan balances secured by the properties were less than half of their estimated market value.

“Record levels of home equity are providing financial security for millions of families and minimizing the risk of another housing market crash like the one we saw in 2008,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president from ATTOM.

San Jose, California tops the list with 74.4% of its stock-rich properties. Forty-five states saw their stock-rich levels increase from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the fourth quarter of this year. The percentage of severely underwater homes increased in 28 states, but most of those increases were less than 1%.

Maine saw a decrease in the percentage of homes that were underwater. The percentage fell from 4.4 to 3.1% of households between the last three months of 2021 and the first three months of this year.

That’s a big turnaround from the height of the housing crisis in 2008, when about 30% of people owed more than their homes were worth, according to Zillow, an online real estate company.

ATTOM said equity would likely continue to rise through the remainder of 2022, although home price increases are expected to moderate.

“Homeowners continue to benefit from rising house prices,” Sharga said.

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