Zillow: Fewer homeowners under water on mortgages
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.
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."