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More homeowners are ‘equity rich’

More homeowners are ‘equity rich’

By Ron Trujillo /

California’s booming housing market is making more homeowners forget about the bust several years ago.

More than two of every five (41.4%) homeowners in the state are equity rich, the second-highest percentage in the nation, only slightly behind Hawaii at 41.9%, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Nationwide, 26.4% of homeowners with mortgages were considered equity rich during the third quarter.

Equity rich homeowners owe 50% or less of the estimated market value of their property. It’s a critical factor in helping homeowners deal with their finances, from cutting or eliminating credit-card debt to funding a home-improvement project.

Four of the five metro regions with the largest percentage of equity rich homeowners with a mortgage are in California, with San Jose (61.0%) and San Francisco (56.4%) leading the way. Los Angles (45.3%) and Thousand Oaks-Oxnard-Ventura (38.7%) finished in fourth- and fifth-place, respectively. Honolulu has the third-largest percentage.

“Accelerating home price appreciation this year is increasing the velocity at which seriously underwater homeowners are recovering home equity lost during the Great Recession,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

But the Golden State has definitely been a tale of two markets, where coastal communities are enjoying fast-rising prices and inland regions are still recovering.

For example, some ZIP codes in Bakersfield (11.2%), Fresno (18.2%) and Redding (7.5%) have quite a few homeowners with seriously underwater mortgages – where money owed exceeds the current value by at least 25%.

Nationwide, 8.7% of homeowners with a mortgage are dealing with seriously underwater loans.

Photo of San Jose skyline by Stellamc/Shutterstock.

Monterey Park best place to live in state

Two of the nation’s top 25 best places to live are in California, but only three of the state’s cities cracked a closely watched list, according to a MONEY magazine and report.

Monterey Park finished as the third-best city to live in the U.S, based on a healthy economy, affordable housing and quality of life. The city – one of the most diverse in California – is about 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

Santa Monica, known for its beaches, pier and shopping, finished at No. 18, according to the report.

Los Alamitos was the only other California city that made the top 100.

Certainly, California boasts a booming economy – with a jobless rate below 5% and among the highest per-capita income in the nation – and quality of life, but less than 30% of households could afford to buy the median-priced home during the third quarter, according to the California Association of Realtors.

The top five places to live in the U.S.:

  1. Fishers, Ind.
  2. Allen, Texas
  3. Monterey Park, Calif.
  4. Franklin, Tenn.
  5. Olive Branch, Miss.

Santa Monica pier photo by Scott Trento/Unsplash


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