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Percentage of Tampa Bay homes with negative equity dropped at end of last year

The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners with negative equity has dropped slightly. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]
The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners with negative equity has dropped slightly. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]
Published Mar. 7, 2019

The percentage of Tampa Bay homes worth less than the amount owed dropped slightly in the final quarter of 2018 although it was still slightly higher than the nationwide figure.

In the three months ended in December, 5.8 percent of bay area homes had negative equity compared to 6.3 percent in the July-September period, the property data collector CoreLogic found. Nationally, 4.2 percent of mortgaged homes had negative equity in the fourth quarter. That, however, was slightly higher than in the previous quarter and represented the first increase since 2015.

The percentage of homes with negative equity could continue to climb although CoreLogic's chief deputy economist, Ralph B. McLaughlin, thinks any increases will be short-lived.

"Slowing house-price growth puts first-time homebuyers this spring at temporary risk of owing more than their homes are worth once home prices dip to seasonal lows this fall and winter,'' McLaughlin said. "However, we believe this will be a temporary foray into negative equity and one that will be limited to markets with the slowest growth.''

In raw numbers, 35,621 of the 612,375 Tampa Bay homes with mortgages had negative equity in the final quarter of last year. Another 9,778 were "near'' negative equity,'' CoreLogic said.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.