The continuing rise in home prices in metro Atlanta is giving homeowners with underwater mortgages optimism that they’ll be able to sell eventually and break even, or possibly even make a profit. Currently, about 35 percent of homeowners in the area owe more money on their home than it is worth, a number that has dropped from 54 percent one year ago. Owning a home in Atlanta is still a shaky venture for some, as Atlanta Is still among the cities with the highest negative equity, along with Orlando and Las Vegas.
Prices are expected to continue rising but at a slower pace even as more buyers enter the market and inventory remains tight. The pace of the decline in the number of underwater mortgages also will slow locally and nationally. Zillow said the national underwater mortgage rate dropped to around 19 percent in the fourth quarter, the first time it has been below 20 percent in years. The cities with the lowest negative equity rates were San Jose, Austin and Houston.