LAS VEGAS -- More than one of every four homeowners with a mortgage in the Las Vegas metro area owes more than double what their home is worth, the real estate information company Zillow reported.
The Zillow Negative Equity Report for the first quarter of 2012 found that nearly 90,000 Las Vegas area homeowners, or 26.8 percent, are in that predicament.
The report, released May 24, also found that Nevada led the nation with 66.9 percent of its mortgage holders underwater in the first three months of this year. That was well ahead of second place Arizona at 52.3 percent. The percentage of Nevadans underwater was more than double the national rate of 31.4 percent.
Among 30 large metro areas surveyed, Las Vegas also came out on top with 71 percent of its residential mortgages underwater, a slight increase from the 70.2 percent who had negative equity in the fourth quarter of 2011. It was also reported that 14.3 percent of Las Vegas homeowners were at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage payments, fifth highest nationally.
Zillow reported that 15.7 million Americans collectively were $1.2 trillion underwater in the first quarter. The percentage of U.S. homeowners with negative equity was higher in the first three months of 2012 than in the final quarter of 2011 but lower than a year ago.
"While it was disappointing to see negative equity numbers remain so high, it is important to note that negative equity remains only a paper loss for the vast majority of underwater homeowners," Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries said. "As home values slowly increase and these homeowners continue to pay down their principal, they will surface again.
"That said, negative equity remains an issue for the housing market as a whole, and poses a risk to any recovery."