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November 9, 2009

Zillow: Fewer homeowners under water on mortgages

Real estate search site says fewer single-family homeowners in the Baltimore metro area were under water on their mortgages in September than three months earlier. Yes, fewer.

Twenty percent of Baltimore-area borrowers owed more on their single-family home loans than their homes were worth in September, down from 25 percent in June, according to Zillow's calculation -- part of its third-quarter real estate market report. Zillow uses its "Zestimates" to calculate values for all homes, not just the ones that sold. (I mention that because there's been discussion here and elsewhere about how accurate those are.)

Zillow said it found that Baltimore-area home values rose slightly from the spring to the summer -- 1.1 percent. (Values dropped about 5 percent from a year earlier, Zillow said, but it estimates that about one in five homes is actually worth more now.)

The slight upward movement in prices this summer might be helping some borrowers get out from a slightly under-water position, but it hasn't prevented sales at a loss. Almost one in six homes changing hands in September went for less than the seller had bought them for, according to Zillow's figures for the metro area.

That ranged quite a bit at a community level.

Zillow said nearly 30 percent of September sales in Carroll County's Westminster and Anne Arundel County's Odenton were at a loss. But in Towson, Fallston, Perry Hall and Parole, fewer than 7 percent of home sales were losses.

And compared with the U.S., far fewer homes sold here in the summer were foreclosure properties, Zillow said. In September, just under 6 percent of transactions were foreclosure resales in the Baltimore metro area, according to Zillow. Nationwide? More than 21 percent.

An aside on the subject of Zestimates: Christopher Fountain, a real estate agent in Greenwich, Conn., wrote a blog post in August that compares Zestimates, assessed value and asking prices to the ultimate sales price for 10 properties.

"Zillow’s right some of the time, the assessed value is closer on others," he notes. "The one that is almost always wrong is the original estimate of value by the agent."


Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)


So Zillow says only 20% of all mortgages in MD are underwater? I still don't trust Zillow's "Zestimates". They need to put more weight on RECENT sales data. Even listing prices would bring down their "Zestimates". I think in reality that number is still higher. But I forgot, the recession is over and the housing market has hit the bottom. Everything is all better now!!!!!!

Haha this is just hilarious.

I live on the planet Earth. I own a home. I use it as shelter. Then some hysterical guys shout that I am under water. Then they shout I am 20% less under water. All based on some (z)estimates, which can, may, or not, be true.

And all that happened was that I lived in my home. That's how they make their living and pay for their homes (under water or not).

Not really eventful like all that fuss, or maybe yes?

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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