One Fifth of Homeowners Underwater


So many homeowners are now underwater (they owe more than the value of their property) Obama may want to offer a federal program to give scuba lessons to everyone!

More than one fifth of ALL homeowners were underwater in the last quarter of 2009, according to and reported by BusinessWeek.

And, if that weren’t bad enough (and it is) the figures also show, not surprisingly, that foreclosures hit a record for recent times in December–more than 1,000 homes.

The forecast is not totally bleak, but not exactly upbeat,either.

In a statement, Zillow Chief economist Stan Humphries says, “While the next few months are likely to bring further home value declines in most markets, we do expect to see a national bottom in home prices by the middle of the year. Thereafter, home values are likely to bounce along the bottom with real appreciation remaining negligible for some time.”

Wow, that’s something to look forward to! The value of your home is probably going to keep dropping for a few more months, then pretty much stay at the bottom of the sea till god knows when! Nice forecast!

In case you’re wondering (and who isn’t?) RealtyTrac records 2.82 million foreclosures last year alone, says the BusinessWeek article.

If anyone needed proof that the administration’s so-called mortgage loan modification program has been a total flop, these figures offer that proof.

More important, if the forecast is correct about continued home value loss followed by nothing more than a bottoming out for some time to come, we are likely to see more and more homeowners just mailing their keys back to lenders and walking away from their properties, a trend that has already increased and is fairly well documented.

Photo: SteelCityHobbies

About Author

Charles is currently reporting for KNX Radio in Los Angeles, is the co-author of the book No Time To Think, and can be found commenting about the news on his blog, The Feldman Blog, as well as on The Huffington Post.


  1. Still, that’s an improvement, though! Last November, Wall Street Journal was putting that figure at 1 in 4. I guess I need to reassess my mental model of The Big Picture, because this would appear to be a significant improvement. Maybe HAMP was less of a failure than I thought.

    • Frank Zweegers on

      Seriously 1 in 4 last year? Well 1 in 5 is already to much. I seriously thought that prices of the houses in America were going (at least a bit) upward, but as I’m reading now, they’re still falling? As you’re saying in the article the morgage system didn’t work at all..
      Well let’s hope for the best this year. Great title and start of the article by the way.

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