According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, recent data from ATTOM Data Solutions, shows the Philadelphia metropolitan area ranking high on the list of mortgaged properties where the loan amount is higher than their market value. The designation surprised some local experts in the City of Brotherly Love. “Generally speaking, people would not consider Philadelphia a place with a huge number of underwater properties," said Ira Goldstein, president of policy solutions at the Reinvestment Fund.

In the region that includes Philadelphia, Chester, Camden, and Wilmington, roughly 1 in 13 mortgaged homes was seriously underwater, meaning homeowners owe 25% more than the home’s estimated market value, according to the ATTOM report on the fourth quarter of 2019. More than one in five mortgaged homes were equity-rich, meaning owners owed half or less of their home’s estimated market value.

The percentages of equity-rich properties in the nation and the Northeast region were higher. Of the 54.5 million homes with mortgages throughout the country, more than one in four were equity-rich, while roughly one in 16 were considered seriously underwater. Figures for the Northeast region as a whole were nearly identical.

The types of models ATTOM and their counterparts use rely on assessed values from counties and comparable sales in an area. For Philadelphia, these inputs can mean overestimating the number of underwater properties, Goldstein said.

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