Mortgage Crisis Redux: One-Third of Bay Area Mortgages Underwater
Despite a stabilizing housing market, 30.7 percent of Bay Area homeowners owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth. That's according to new figures from real estate research firm Zillow (which publishes an excellent map showing counties and ZIP codes).
The hardest-hit county in the region: Solano, where 60 percent of homeowners are in negative equity, or underwater. With Solano County, the situation is especially dire in Vallejo, where several ZIP codes have negative equity rates ranging from 70 to 75 percent. More than 60 percent of mortgages are underwater in Richmond and the Oakland flatlands.
At the other end of the spectrum, San Francisco has the lowest county rate of negative equity: 15 percent. ZIP codes in neighborhoods scattered from Berkeley and Piedmont in the East Bay to Palo Alto in Silicon Valley have rates from 3 to 8 percent.
Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries says that as employment rebounds in the region, some areas are seeing an increase in home sales that will improve the overall picture in the regional housing sector.
"People feel more positive about going out and buying homes," Humphries says. "And pockets of the Bay Area are doing quite well. For example the Peninsula area from San Francisco city down to San Jose is doing extraordinarily well right now."
Zillow map: Where are home loans underwater?