Chicago-Area Underwater Homeowners Falling, But Still Too High

The number of underwater homeowners in the Chicago area fell during the third quarter of this year. That’s the good news. The bad news? The number of underwater homes didn’t fall as steeply in the Chicago area as it did in the rest of the country.


Crain’s Chicago Business recently reported on the third-quarter equity report from research firm Attom Data Solutions. According to the story, 11.8 percent of Chicago-area homeowners with a mortgage loan were still seriously underwater at the end of the third quarter. That figure was down, though, from 19.5 percent during the same quarter in 2016.


Being underwater means that you owe more on your mortgage than what your home is currently worth. If you have a Chicago condo worth $200,000 and you owe $250,000 on your mortgage, you are $50,000 underwater. Attom considers homeowners to be seriously underwater if they owe at least 25 percent more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth.


It’s good that home values in Chicago are rising fast enough so that the number of underwater owners is dropping. But there are far too many seriously underwater homeowners in the Chicago area when compared to the number across the nation. Nationally, 8.7 percent of homeowners with mortgage loans were serious underwater in the third quarter. That’s down from 10.8 percent during the third quarter of 2016.


Why are there more underwater homeowners in the Chicago area than in other cities across the country? Home values are rising here, but they aren’t rising quite as quickly as they are in other parts of the country. When home values rise significantly, the number of underwater homeowners will naturally fall.


Being underwater is a hassle if you want to sell. The odds are high that you won’t be able to sell your residence for as much as you once purchased it for. And it’s harder to make a profit.


Your best move? Work with a REALTOR® who knows your neighborhood. This professional can help you market your home to the deepest pool of potential buyers and can help you earn the best possible price for your condo or single-family home.