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A trend in homes underwater

August 17, 2008|Peter Y. Hong

The latest home value estimates from Zillow.com contain an interesting set of numbers on Los Angeles-area homes that are underwater -- that is, more is owed on the mortgages than the houses are worth.

Only about 1% of L.A-area homes purchased in 2003 have negative equity, Zillow reports. But a bell curve emerges, with 24% of homes purchased in 2004 now underwater. The peak year for home purchases that are now in negative equity was 2006 -- 71% of homes purchased then are now upside-down. About 56% of homes purchased in 2007 have negative equity.

The negative-equity percentage falls to 13% in 2008, tied to the sharp drop in home prices. Buyers are now making median down payments of 20% of the purchase price, Zillow reports, up from a 10% median down payment in 2007 and a 5% median in 2006.

-- Peter Y. Hong

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