Negative equity gap nears $4 trillion

"The negative equity situation has improved substantially since the height of the great recession," said Graboske. "There are now just 2.2 million homeowners left in negative equity positions, a full one million fewer than at the start of 2016. Whereas negative home equity was once a widespread national problem – with roughly 30 percent of all.

The big picture of negative equity in U.S. real estate is enough to make a grown broker cry, and most are. Total negative equity in the U.S. has now surpassed $4 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRBSL).

This illustrates the core issue in a balance sheet recession, that an enormous amount of savings was tied up in the banking system, rather than being invested. The decline in housing prices also caused U.S. household equity to plummet, from a peak of $13.4 trillion in Q1 2006 to $6.1 trillion.

Homeowner equity has more than doubled in five years, increasing by $4.4 trillion from Q1 2013 to Q1 2018 [1]. The nationwide negative equity share for Q1 2018 was 4.7 percent of all homes with a mortgage, more than 20 percentage points lower than the peak negative equity share – 26 percent – recorded in Q4 2009. [2]

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