Underwater Mortgages to Skyrocket by 2011

August 20, 2009

Source: Les Christie, CNN; Nick Timiraos, The Wall Street Journal

A new report by Deutsche Bank estimates that by 2011 nearly 50 percent of U.S. home owners with mortgages will owe more than their homes are worth.

This estimate of 25 million borrowers is significantly higher than similar calculations by other economic and real estate analysts. For instance, Moody's Economy.com projected that 17.5 million will be underwater by early 2010.

Currently, about 26 percent of home owners choose to walk away from their mortgages because their equity falls short of what they owe, according to a report by Paola Sapienza, a finance professor with Northwestern University, and Luigi Zingales, a finance professor at the University of Chicago. Their report suggests that situation could worsen if the percentage of underwater mortgage holders increases.

Not everybody agrees with Deutsche Bank's analysis.

Tom Lawler, a well-respected independent housing economist, wrote that given the recent increase in home sales in many areas, "there is absolutely no doubt that the DB 'model' forecast will show a huge miss to the down side on home prices."

CNNMoney.com and The Wall Street Journal

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