RALEIGH – After 2021 saw record growth in home prices, with Raleigh’s real estate adding about $50 billion in total value, nearly half of all homes with a mortgage in Wake County are considered equity rich, a new study from ATTOM Data Solutions reveals.

By ATTOM’s data, 49.4% of Wake County homes were considered equity rich at the end of 2021.  An equity rich home is one where the loan-to-value ratio on the property is 50% or lower.  Put another way, a home is considered equity rich when the owner owes less on the mortgage balance than half of what the typical fair market value of that home is considered.

In Wake County, there are 128,018 of 259,295 properties considered worth at least twice as much as what is owed on the mortgage.  In Durham County, 33,090 of 59,534 homes are considered equity rich, or 55.6%.

“Another quarter, another boost to the balance sheets of homeowners in most of the United States – that was the story from the fourth quarter of last year,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM.  “As home prices kept rising, so did the equity built up in residential properties, to the point where close to half of all mortgage payers around the country found themselves in equity-rich territory.”

Nationally, 41.9% of homes are considered equity rich, according to ATTOM.

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North Carolina second in U.S. for growth of equity rich homes

Though both counties outpace North Carolina’s numbers, the state ranked second overall when it came to the growth in the percentage of homes considered equity rich, ATTOM found.  Across the state, 44.2% of North Carolina homes are now considered equity rich, up from 38.6% at the end of the third quarter of 2021 and up from 24% at the end of 2020, the data set showed.

The county with the highest percentage of equity rich homes is Haywood County, with a population of 61,053.  Of the 12,233 mortgages, 7,122 properties are worth at least twice the outstanding balance, and 58.2% of homes in the county are considered equity rich.

The state’s most equity-rich zip code is in Charlotte, as 28217 has 70.1% of its mortgaged properties considered equity rich in the ATTOM data.

“Homeowner equity improved yet again throughout many major regions and economic sectors of the U.S. housing market,” said Teta.  “But the gains came in a mixed scenario that boosted fortunes in different ways across low-, middle-, and higher-priced parts of the nation and largely left in place yawning gaps between them.”

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Cumberland & Hoke County rank among bottom five counties in U.S.

Sure, Amazon is moving in—twice.  And Fayetteville appeared ranked as one of the top five hottest real estate markets in the United States in April 2021, according to the National Association of REALTORS.

But by one measure, homeowners in Cumberland County are last in the nation, new data from ATTOM shows.  And neighboring Hoke County homeowners aren’t much better off, according to the report, which tracks the percentage of properties considered equity rich.

By ATTOM’s data, just 7.8% of homes in Cumberland County were considered equity rich, which means that the loan-to-value ratio on the property is 50% or lower.  Put another way, a home is considered equity rich when the owner owes less than half of what the typical fair market value of that home is considered.

Of the 15,462 mortgages secured by property in Cumberland County, 1,207 met the mark.  4% of homes, or 612 properties in Cumberland County, were found to be considered “seriously underwater” on the mortgage, which ATTOM describes as when the loan-to-value ratio is 125% or above, or that the property owner owes at least 25% more than the estimated fair market value of the property.

In Hoke County, 1,097 homes are considered equity rich out of 9,968 held mortgages, or 11%, and 3.7% of mortgages are considered seriously underwater.

In Wake County, only 1.2% of homes are considered seriously underwater, according to the data.

Still, the latest market data from the Longleaf Pines REALTORS® shows that in the association’s area, which includes Hoke and Cumberland Counties, there was a one-year change in median price of 13.9% across all properties sold in 2021.

And, Zillow data, which was shared with WRAL TechWire upon request, shows that in the Fayetteville metropolitan statistical area, the typical home value at the end of 2021 was $167,839, up from $141,425 from the prior year, or a change of 18.6%.

Comparatively, in the Triangle, the one-year change in median price was 23.3%, according to the latest Triangle Multiple Listing Service data.

Up $100,000 in one year: Durham County median home sale prices jump 33.3% in 12 months