According to the Q2 Zillow Negative Equity Report, the overall U.S. negative equity rate as of the end of Q2 2016 – the share of homeowners that were underwater, owing more to their lenders than their home was worth – was 12.1 percent. That’s down from 12.7 percent in the first quarter and 14.4 percent at the same time a year ago (figure 1). When examining the negative equity rate in urban and suburban areas, we found that 13.7 percent of homeowners in urban areas and 11.2 percent of homeowners in suburban communities were underwater at the end of Q2.
The following graph from Zillow shows a time series for negative equity.
Despite steady improvement in the overall negative equity rate, pockets with relatively high shares of underwater homeowners remain, especially in the Midwest. Of the 35 largest metro areas covered by Zillow, the overall negative equity rate in Q2 was highest in Las Vegas (19.5 percent), Chicago (19 percent) and Baltimore (16.7 percent). Five of the 10 largest metros with the highest rates of negative equity are in the middle of the country (Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis). Meanwhile, the West Coast is home to the largest three metros with the lowest levels of negative equity (San Jose, San Francisco and Portland).