Owing more than the home is worth

Mashing together data on home values with information on mortgage loans, the real estate firm Zillow Inc. says that 11.5 percent of the homes in Eastern Massachusetts have negative equity – more is owed on the mortgage than the home is worth. In some communities, such as Brockton, almost a third of all homes are under water; in the western suburbs, where real estate values have recovered since the housing bubble burst in the fall of 2005, relatively few homes are worth less than their mortgage. The good news: Negative equity is typically not a problem for homeowners who can afford their monthly mortgage payments, unless they need to sell.


Percentage of homes with negative equity

DATA: Zillow

Luke Knox/Globe Staff